HEADLINES

Kathryn Williams – The Pond

British folk-singer Kathryn Williams’ new project, Kathryn Williams Presents…: The Pond, is a breath of fresh, bucolic air from the bleak landscapes of Newcastle, where the Liverpool-born musician now calls home.

Releasing yet another product that eludes the  folk-category, Williams’ new musical collaboration leaves us perplexed by its unpredictability and wild concoctions.

The song “Carved,” for instance, features a chanting chorus’  repartee with a metallic percussion and electric and acoustic guitars. Williams’ perfect-pitched voice and her hypnotic, jazzy lullabies lazily catch up with the mad rhythm, much like jazz singers of Bossa Nova.

In the song “Aim,” Williams shows off her breathtaking vocal range with sexy, lazy falsetto, promising to take us “higher and higher” with some piercing, high vocal frequencies.

In “The River,” Williams produces an intoxicating mix of sitars and guitars, persuasively dancing around in a Bollywood-meets-the-Scottish-highlands style. “Circle Around the Tree” is a bit monotonous and insipid compared to the rest of the album, but overall the album is a beautiful one.

Williams certainly can be seen in a context of a generation of so-called folk singers coming out of the woods of England and elsewhere with their introspective and experimental sounds, redolent of PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple and Beth Orton to name a few. The devilish theatrics  of Tom Waits and the sweet gloom of Nick Cave  are also present in The Pond, with Williams delivering her lyrics with Liverpoodlian accent, giving it that rough edge.

Williams, a former visual artist who graduated from Northumbria University, has enjoyed a certain notoriety in the underground circles after her second album, Little Black Numbers, nominated for a Mercury Prize, rose to #70 in the UK charts. Her artistic vision or aesthetics comes now in musical form, dark and sweet at times, sensual and dramatic.

The Pond is filled with surprises. Williams teamed up with rappers and folk artists and other experimental musicians from her home town where the Chemical Brothers and other electronic music was born.

The Pond is a reflective pool from a young yet mature artist. I recommend you stir the bottom for all kinds of references. The album will be released by One Little Indian on 28th May. For a sneak preview and tour dates, visit her official site.

★★★★½ 

 

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