Bella Union/PIAS

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Approaching the first album from a new artist can be like buying a lucky dip at one of your early local carnival experiences. Seeing “A. A. Williams” in combination with “Forever Blue” conjures the wrong first impression of jeans, Stetson, and western themed surrounds. Moving to the album cover puts the words in a better perspective, but again the wrong idea might be perceived as the tortured scream growing out of the cover paintwork hits the viewer.

Truly there is nothing to be done but press play and let the sound seep through your being as this unpredictable creation becomes known. On rare occasions the result of your lucky dip choice is something special and you wonder how such a thing was not visible before. Moving forward you are changed by the emotion of the discovery and the new settles into your bones – the memory of this experience will remain forever.

Opening “Forever Blue” is the song “All I Asked For (Was To End It All)” followed by “Melt” – have a look at the accompanying music videos. What you will hear is typical of songs in the style of A.A. Williams, the tracks begins in a sparse, contemplative manner and gradually gather weight while the vocal continues throughout in a low-key storyteller drone. The best parallel which occurs to me is Johnny Cash in a slow mood, however this is a general impression, as his clear diction is not present here.

The musically backing builds and ebbs. Typically there is a point where a torrent of noise is unleashed with the effect of an emotional deluge. “Fearless” is my favorite track on the album and it brings a surprise midway through with Cult of Luna‘s Johannes Persson making a suitably tortured vocal addition. It is a particularly effective vocal addition as it magnifies the musical torrent and contrasts well with the drone like main vocal line.

A.A. Williams style is also showcased with her Songs From Isolation series during the COVID-19 lockdown, and display a range of influences including Nick Cave, Gordon Lightfoot and Deftones. On her EP there is a cover of Dolly Parton‘s “Jolene”. Here is an new artist with a distinctive opening style and diverse influences perceptible in a grand mix of music and emotion. Should you choose this as your next dip into the musical stream running through our years? It would be hard to pick something better.

Rating – 90/100

Tracklist

  1. All I Asked For (Was To End It All)
  2. Melt
  3. Dirt
  4. Fearless
  5. Glimmer
  6. Love And Pain
  7. Wait
  8. I’m Fine

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