With reverberated electric guitar, thrashing symbols, and liquid basslines, LA’s Les Biches reimagines one of legendary folk dreamer, Nick Drake’s posthumous releases.
Drake’s “Hanging on a Star” was originally released in 1987 on a compilation album called Time of No Reply, with an alternate version released in 2004 on Made to Love Magic. Through wistful repetition and Drake’s signature acoustic-guitar sound, “Hanging on a Star” gracefully provokes a sense of crippling loneliness; Drake sings about a world that simply won’t accept him. This is in part why Keith Joyner, lead singer and guitarist of Les Biches, aimed to recreate the haunting track alongside bandmates, Chris Candelaria (bass) and Jeff Sullivan (drums). “I’ve always been strangely drawn to this song,” says Joyner, “its plaintive words pleading with an indifferent world.”
Les Biches’ motivation to cover Drake stems from a story. The story takes place at Drake’s grave years ago in the English village of Tanworth-in-Arden, where Jeff Sullivan went to pay respects to his idol. While smoking hash and playing Drake’s signature tune, “Pink Moon,” on guitar, Sullivan was greeted by an older woman named Dee. She carried flowers and introduced herself as a friend of Drake’s mother, Molly. Within minutes they hit it off and Dee invited he and his friends to chat with Molly at her place. Sullivan told her of his admiration for her son, later describing the entire event as “a dream.” This peculiar experience is infused in Les Biches’ “Hanging On a Star;” in the seclusion of a single grave, a world six feet above is brought together by the music of a man that never found recognition. Perhaps, in this version, Les Biches has given some life to a dead man’s vision.