Let’s start by way of introduction. Peter Bruntnell is an extraordinary singer/songwriter from the U.K. whose only real handicap is the lack of awareness he’s received on this side of the Atlantic. Nevertheless, it’s not due to lack of ability. He not only lays claim to an impressive series of albums, but also to the rare ability to avoid repeating himself, which makes each new effort a memorable encounter in and of itself. His latest effort, Nos Da Comrade, is another outstanding candidate for universal appeal, one just waiting for an American label to take notice. Sadly, that can’t be banked on, even though he’s an earnest folk rocker with a solid sixties sensibility. As a steadfast troubadour with a singular perspective, he stakes a claim on romanticised imagery and executes his arrangements with a nary a flase move to be found. Regardless, he’s able to draw attention to the most infinite detail with a remarkable poetic flair. “Dance of the Dead” is a case in point, its psychedelic suggestion tempered by gothic impressionism.
“Midsummer rain black cavalcade
The green sun is gone as quickly as age
Time is a furrow shaped by the plough
The moon is a shadow in the lane by the house.”
It’s poetic, yes. But pervasive as well.
The melodies meanwhile underscore those vivid impressions, coupling a demonstrative delivery with robust choruses and a decided forward thrust (as in the case of album opener “Mr. Sunshine,” the soaring, spiralling rocker “Where the Snakes Hang Out,” and the upbeat and insistent “Rainstars,” “Peak Operational Condition” and “Fishing the Flood Plain”), or through a rare moment of respite (as articulated by the winsome and reflective “End of the World,” the sweetly serene “Caroline” and the dreamy, cascading “Long Way From Home”). Either way, Bruntnell hits his mark assuredly and effectively, making No Da Comrade among his best albums yet. And considering the high bar he’s set so far, that’s saying a lot.