Words by Tim Cumming
His glass may always be half-empty, but this is his best yet
You get the feeling that if Kris Drever were to sing ‘My Way’, the ‘regrets, I’ve had a few’ line would lose the ‘too few to mention’ bit. The opener on his excellent new set, ‘I Didn’t Try Hard Enough’, is steeped in regret, albeit set to a rolling, upbeat, optimistic tune and setting. Drever has guitarist Ian Carr with him, with Euan Burton’s piano, Wurlitzer organ and bass, and percussion from Louis Abbott.
The title-track has a deft melody and the kind of spare setting that brings out the best in Drever’s songs. The lyrics are strong, mixing the deeply personal with the turbulence of larger affairs. ‘The Longest Day’ is a well-observed, philosophical nature lyric, and the closing ‘Going to the North’ references the singer’s recent move to Shetland, while subtly encompassing a renewed sense of home, which makes ‘the little things clearer the nearer that you are.’ This is warm, revealing and insightful songwriting; Drever’s best solo work by far.