Excerpts from ‘Drift Code’ UK album reviews
Album Of The Month 4/5*
Drift Code sounds like a single moment-albeit frozen and stretched, encompassing many moments. There’s not even a style to anchor it somewhere in time-pop and rock and jazz and folk seem suspended in aspic.
Rather than genre per se, Webb’s voice belongs to a broad tradition of English melancholia-of sepia tones and sweet sadness.”
The Guardian 5/5*
There’s an appealing woodiness to it, not just Webb’s attractively weathered voice, but to the warm rich arrangements, where brass, keys and Lee Harris’s subtle, limber drumming propel the songs back and forth between psychedelia and folk.
Drift code has sturdy song, which are in turn given patina of age by the way Webb has recorded them. It’s not so much something like Our Tomorrows sounds as if it could have been recorded in 1971, more that it seems to exist in a time of it’s own. It’s gorgeous.
The Times 4/5*
Despite it’s extended birthing period, Drift Code has a sense of cohesion bound together by mood stuck somewhere between romantic and despairing. Webb’s voice is reminiscent of Robert Wyatt’s, weathered and mournful, and there is a rainy, end-of-the-pier feel through out, as if it belongs to the world of John Osborne’s ailing music hall star in The Entertainer.
Not since Tome Waits has a singer made the world of show business seem so tawdry. Not that any of this is depressing as such because, as with so much apparently sad music, there is something comforting about Webb’s arcane vision.
Record Collector 4/5*
Drift Code is as self-contained as its gestation period implies, sensitive to seasonal shifts but otherwise insulated from external concerns.
Webb reveals himself as a fluent singer, his weathered vocal shifting almost imperceptibly to suit each song’s need.
Richly imagined and immersive, Drift Code draws you into its twilit world with a sure, stealthy grip.
It’s heartening to discover that Webb’s first outing as Rustin Man without the ‘&’ is such a fully realised and cohesive piece of work.
What Webb’s recording method sacrifices in freewheeling spontaneity it gains in idiosyncratic and carefully crafted atmospheres that subtly wrong-foot expectations.
“Webb proves his ability to build worlds whose orbits brush against the heart whilst always staying at arm’s length”
‘It boasts it’s own quizzical magic’
“Stately and orchestral recalling late Bowie, Scott Walker, even Robert Wyatt and, of course, Talk Talk”.
The Mail On Sunday 4/5*
His music, compiled piecemeal over the years, is warm, beautiful and quietly dramatic, like some dust-covered vintage device that mysteriously still works.
Intricate arrangements of guitar, keyboard and Bad-seeds like drama slowly pieced together in his Essex barn. Webb’s wintry, leaf-fall voice mulches down Robert Wyatt and late-period David Bowie, the perfect vehicle for his slightly sinister story telling.
Long Live Vinyl 8/10*
Webb’s voice is startlingly beautiful.
As richly detailed on piano as he was on bass, hopefully Webb won’t let his solo talent rust away any longer.
Secret Meeting - 85/100 (online UK)
The meticulous nature with which he has created the record has allowed Webb to produce something that sounds timeless. Despite a feeling of vulnerability, you also get the sense that our narrator has taken and absorbed everything the world has to throw at hime and is still standing. Whether this world is the one we inhabit or the one in Webb’s mind isn’t clear, but the thirty seven minutes we spend there are jarringly wonderful.
A vibrant, colourful thing of beauty. And believe me, it really is a thing of beauty.
The Scotsman 4/5* (Regional)
By no means elderly, Webb nevertheless sounds weathered and vulnerable on these meticulously layered songs of mortality.
Loud and Quite (Regional)
Agains a jazz-infected, autumnal palette of welling organ and sparse, glistening guitar, Webb’s voice has matured strikingly.
He finds the sweet spot between the playful and the mournful.
Buzz magazine 4/5*
If he had neighbours they’d be wondering what Rustin Man’s Paul Webb has been building in his barn for 17 years. On this urbane yet bucolic LP he’s commandeered the mic from Beth Gibbons, with a fragile but defiant voice.
Excerpts from ‘Drift Code’ international album reviews
Drift Code doesn’t sound like Talk Talk (nor anything that could describe as “post-rock”), but what it shares with the band’s best work is both the sense of being adrift in time and a meticulous approach to production. These arrangements flicker with intricate melodic detail and nonconventional instrumentation.
Rolling Stone 4.5/5* (Germany)
‘Drift Code is the perfect follow up for Out Of Season’.
Blow Up 8/10 (Italy)
Album oF The Month ‘Drift Code is able to figure out the human essence with an almost superhuman serenity and warmth’.
Brooklyn Vegan (US)
Webb uses a lot of old sounds on this album, but he repurposes them in ways that feel new and exciting. The solos on ‘Judgement Train’ could be on a San Francisco pysch record from 1967, but the song as a whole entirely fresh. Part of that is the warm, atmospheric production style that makes ‘Drift Code’ sound contemporary despite some half-century old influences. But mostly it’s Paul Webb’s ability to find inspiration from the past while looking at the future.
Le Monde (France)
‘A fascinating cabinet of curiosities at the crossroads of orchestrated pop, jazz and blues-folk’
Tip 4/5* (Germany)
‘Songs with love for details that exude warm melancholy and tell stories’
NPR Music (US)
“Broken and Beautiful”
ABC NEWS (Via Associated Press US)
On “The World’s In Town”, Webb sings “I’m drifting from day to day/And everywhere feels like my home.” On “Drift Code,” he’s inviting us into his lair and it’s worth the visit.
‘One wonders why and how Paul Webb spent so much time in the shadows before revealing it to us’.
Eclipsed 8/10* (Germany)
‘Songs that in their entirety present a long phase of life and therefore claim a certain general validity. All of them are small works of art’.
Oor Magazine (Netherlands)
‘Drift Code is great’.
La Musique a papa (France)
‘Simple and Sublime’
Album Of The Month
‘his excellent songwriting blends elegantly with jazz, blues and weird sounds’
‘Drift Code is a record that qualifies for ‘the list’ at the end of this year, seems already certain to be certain.
Pop Matters (US)
From start to finish, ‘Drift Code’ is fascinatingly innovative yet cohesive.
Webb’s voice alone is a characteristic and multifaceted treat that really suits the timbres and subject matter surrounding it. Likewise, each track fits as a piece of the whole puzzle while also housing its own personality via surprisingly resourceful tones and constructions. All in all, Webb and company excel at bringing his novel vision to life with retro charisma, modern creativity, and timeless classiness that guarantees its relevancy and appeal for the foreseeable future.
Beatblogger 4/5* (Germany)
‘You can hear the long exciting history of this record in every note’.
‘There is a real cinematic dynamic in the way the piece is designed’.
Plattentests 8/10* (Germany)
“It contains the first compositions that this special artist thought up just for his own voice, and fortunately they have become as good as he deserves them to be.
‘not to be missed’
The New York Times (US playlist)
“Judgement Train” is a bluesy, wah-wah-loving railroad ride toward an unknowable afterlife.
‘what a marvellous record’
FocusKnack.be 4/5* (Belgium)
Cryptic Rock (US)
Who said that music these days is soulless, artless and heartless? Who else but the lazy and jaded, whose ears are no longer attuned to anything new. Or, those who are not into complex music to begin with. However, to music enthusiasts wha are always hungry for challenging yet enticing works of music, Paul Webb’s latest opus as Rustin Man is definitely something to savour slowly and to drift with wonderingly. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives ‘Drift Code’ 5 out of 5 stars.
La Voix du Nord (France feature)
“one of the beautiful surprises of this season is named Rustin Man”
Album Of The Week
Soundi 4/5* (Finland)
Editors best of the month