A.A.Williams EP

Written by: AP on 19/05/2019 21:35:04

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of female solo artists shunning the traditional idea of what it means to be a singer-songwriter. Spearheaded by the likes of Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle, and now bolstered in their ranks by A.A.Williams, these musicians are eager to source inspiration from doom, noise and post-rock as well as the more classic genres such as folk and soul, which has given rise to terms like death gospel when trying to pinpoint their style. And having explored this movement for some time, it does strike me as the most appropriate way to describe this niche of strong, emotive voices and dark, brooding atmospheres. A.A.Williams certainly fits the prototype on her evocative self-titled EP, which skips the formalities and launches her straight into the upper echelons of the genre.

With delicate strokes of piano, a softly purring cello and subdued drumming providing the backdrop for A.A.Williams’ longing voice during the opening minutes of “Control”, she holds her cards close to her chest, deceiving the listener with a quite traditional style of American folk music until halfway, sheets of reverberating guitar and synth start cascading through the soundscape to send the track soaring skyward in a captivating post-rock crescendo. The song spells out the formula A.A.Williams employs throughout the EP, masquerading as yet another singer-songwriter whilst actually weaving together some pretty unique soundscapes for her sombre voice to resonate through. In spite of the elegant piano, strings and guitar melodies that pirouette their way around “Cold”, she always keeps the focus on her tender, yet weary musings. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the laconic “Terrible Friends”, in which her voice turns smoky and is enveloped in the musical drift of a lonely troubadour — not unlike what you would expect to hear on a Jaye Jayle record — before the synths swell up and deliver her into a finale which reminds me of Radiohead’s 1997 song “Lucky”. The EP is then brought to a conclusion by “Belong”, a soul destroying ode to breaking up in which the familiar feelings of loss, relief and rebirth all find a voice. At first, the instrumentation remains quite sparse and understated, but as A.A.Williams’ singing grows more insistent in the middle, so, too, does the music grow stormier, delivering a climax which seems to nod at Chelsea Wolfe — until suddenly, the noise recedes to unveil a tranquil and almost uplifting final segment.

In a sense, “Belong” captures the essence of A.A.William’s creative output (at least for the scope of this EP — it remains to be seen what she will do on her eventual full-length); building contrasts between the light and the dark, the subtle and the amplified, and traversing through a spectrum of emotions in both her lyricism and the music that accompanies it. Despite the fact that A.A.Williams’ style has grown quite popular lately in the hands of Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle and Marissa Nadler, the level of maturity and the quality of songwriting she exhibits here nonetheless earns her a place next to, rather than slightly below her peers in this steamrolling movement. This EP may be a brief introduction to A.A.Williams, but she has caught my attention!


Download: Control, Terrible Friends, Belong
For the fans of: Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle, Marissa Nadler
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.01.2019
Holy Roar Records

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