We all know that Pink Moon is the best Nick Drake album, but which is better out of his other two? I'm a Bryter Layter man, myself, but Five Leaves Left is great too.
I think Bryter is a more cohesive album than 5LL, and I used to rate 5LL > Bryter, but that's changed for me. I don't mind the backing vocals in Poor Boy though. My issue would be the instrumental tracks being less than great and Nick's vocals in Fly, he sounds stretched and not in a good way
what do you mean by cohesive?
I think Bryter's orchestration is all over the place, with the strings, brass, and backing vocals feeling kind of thrown in at different parts of the album, whereas 5Leaves sticks to the very english-sounding string and woodwind backing. For some reason I get an almost Austin Powers- type vibe from pieces of Bryter Layter and that just doesn't play to Nick Drake's strengths to me
I think the percussion is out of place in Three Hours and Cello Song, the orchestration in Thoughts of Mary Jane is overblown by comparison to the rest of the album. The album's tempo is, by and large, lethargic for me.
Comparatively, I feel like Bryter Layter has much more determined pace and eloquent percussion. 5LL feels closer to Jackson C. Frank's debut album, meanwhile, BL feels closer to Astral Weeks instrumentally. So it's a matter of preference, I guess, but BL feels like more of a complete package and 5LL feels slightly sparser.