Peter Lacey is a former session musician who embarked on a solo career relatively late. Last Leaf is his fifth album and prompts the inevitable questions: Why haven’t I heard of him before? What is wrong with the music business when genuine talent can stay under the radar for so long?
He doesn’t describe his music as folk but his grounding in church music gives him a feel for the rhythms of acoustic playing. As a multi-instrumentalist he needs very little help: organ, clarinet and violin on one track each. He doesn’t list his instruments but it’s a lot: guitars, drums, flute, keyboards, accordion, bass and what I take to be bass pedals for drones. There are church bells, too, but I don’t think he plays those.
There is a danger of using words like “bucolic” and “pastoral” to describe this album and titles like ‘Harvest Moon’ and ‘Fisherman’ seem to reinforce that idea. The set opens with a vignette called ‘Country Mile’ which sets the rural scene but it’s followed by ‘The Woodwind’ which is more about clarinets than oaks just to confuse you. The centrepiece is an instrumental, ‘Seven Hills To Hangleton’, which features Alex Dalton’s fiddle in full folk-rock mode and a real ear-worm of a flute theme.
I don’t really get ‘Boy In The Rings Of A Tree’ yet but a bit of weirdness – and a quotation from Bede – is just what’s needed to complete the record. I came upon Last Leaf quite by chance but I’m very glad I did.
Peter in Brian Wilson mode with ‘Drinkin’ In The Sunshine’: