Release Date: Jul 24, 2015
Record label: Company Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Chillwave
After releasing an album in 2012, Lemniscate, that seemed to jam all the musical ideas young Vinyl Williams (aka Lionel Williams) ever had into each song, his second album dials down the ambition in favor of a more focused and relaxed approach. Released in 2015, Into refines the sprawling and overstuffed space rock meets chillwave of the first album, and repurposes it into something that works much better. Taking a cue from his new mentor and label boss, Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi, Williams sets the controls for the heart of chill, with echoing waves of reverb that gently rock the listener and fluffy clouds of sound that cushion them at all times as well.
Psychedelic daydreamers with hazy, kaleidoscopic visions are never in short supply out in Los Angeles, but even by La La Land’s standards Vinyl Williams (real name Lionel) seems to be a far-out star-gazer, lost in a world of pink candy floss clouds and moonwalking elephants. Alongside his band of art school friends, the grandson of movie-score composer John Williams (E.T., Star Wars, Jaws) built a reputation for lush, hypnotic melodies on debut Lemniscate (2012), and continues to drift deeper into his serene fantasies on new album Into. At its best the record sucks you onto this ambient plain where cosmic, bossa nova rhythms and shimmering, downbeat disco grooves soundtrack a meeting of Syd Barrett and Giorgio Moroder.
His grandfather may be legendary film composer John Williams, but you can’t imagine Lionel “Vinyl” Williams soundtracking the travails of velociraptors or X-Wing pilots, unless it’s for a scene in a pop-up cronut bar on Tatooine. He trades in on-trend dreampop, and as the dreams of others tend to be, it’s intermittently intriguing but hard to get excited about. The strongest tracks, such as Gold Lodge, echo James Pants’ grubby funk or Stereolab’s music for moonbase lounge lizards, with their supple basslines and cooing vocals.