Release Date: Feb 16, 2018
Record label: Dead Oceans Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Like his friend, compatriot and occasional collaborator Tami Neilson, New Zealand troubadour Williams is a shape-shifting musical chameleon. On previous recordings, he has traversed blues, bluegrass, country, folk and rock terrain with authority, but this eclecticism may have been a career hindrance. This release, however, is far more focused, comprised of songs written in the aftermath of a relationship's end. Within this theme, Williams explores the full gamut of emotions, and that rich and resonant voice is the perfect vehicle.
It's no secret that great inspiration often comes from heartache, something New Zealand singer-songwriter Marlon Williams certainly can attest to, as dozens of songs poured out in the wake of his breakup from fellow musician Aldous Harding. It's Harding's presence on the album--in the form of the gorgeous duet "Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore"--that best characterizes its complexity. As Harding and Williams' voices intertwine--their rich, languid tones made all the more heart-wrenching by their undeniable compatibility--Williams breaks his own heart with questions like "What am I gonna do/When you're in trouble/And you don't call out for me?" It's a far cry from the middle-finger anthems and self-empowering sentiments of most of today's breakup oeuvres, with Williams exploring the complicated and mostly introspective waves of guilt and remorse ("I Didn't Make A Plan"), and pining and aching ("Beautiful Dress," "Can I Call You"), that come and go like a cruel tide.