The delicate voice behind Farewell J.R belongs to Nick Rayner, who recently released the brilliantly complex six-song debut titled Health. From EP opener “Sickness” rustic chamber folk, to “Night Wolves” rigorous orchestral arrangement, to the harmonized choirs of “Failure”, it’s a surprisingly wide ranging debut in the context of folk music. It trails down winding paths and unexpected turns until it reaches the earnest closure of “Sweet Elizabeth”.
With a debut sounding like “Health”, there’s always going to be the inevitable comparison to Bon Iver, Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes. But Rayner’s music works best if these obvious reference points are disregarded. Health is first and foremost a record to get effusively absorbed in. It seeks to build, and its success lies in the quiet desperation of Rayner’s honest lyrics. This is a debut not to be overlooked.