We meet Raoul Vignal during a moment of revelation. The French guitarist has noticed a ray of sunlight peering through the branches, and as he light passes across his face, its simple warmth and brightness disperses the fog that’s been occupying his mind for some time. “This is the sight I’ve been waiting for a while,” he murmurs to himself. “Hazy days soon will end.”
The nature of whatever has been weighing Vignal down remains unspoken on The Silver Veil, but its traces resound in the quiet darkness that swirls at the edges of all these songs. Like the monochrome photograph on its cover, its mood is muted, rendered in subtly shifting shades of grey. Vignal sings in long slow exhales but his fingers dance restlessly upon his guitar strings, lending an undercurrent of anxiety to his delicate acoustic compositions. The rhythmic thrum of his bass notes resonate like the low rumble of wind.
Vignal plays mostly alone, and there is haunting solitude to his music that owes a lot to Nick Drake's Pink Moon. But where Drake’s late work portrayed a lost soul burrowing tragically further into isolation, The Silver Veil sees Vignal confiding in others and embracing the outside world. Vignal finds emotional sustenance in walking with a friend to 'the frozen lake' or 'through a park not many people know about', expressing gratitude for the people that pull him up. 'Feeding on the words you spoke to me / Leaving me hoping for better things to see,' he sings on Whisper. 'In the winter of my mind you shone a thousand suns.'
With his thoughtful fingerpicking, Vignal carves out a space for contemplation where the world seems to spin a little slower. The Silver Veil is an enriching and refined piece of craftsmanship and among the most rewarding acoustic guitar records in recent memory.
Listen to: Hazy Days, Whisper, The Silver Veil