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If you claim to be an avid reader of all music related news, then you’re bound to have heard the name Marlon Williams being thrown around like a whore*. Williams is a New Zealand native who made the fateful move to Melbourne back in 2013. And now after selling out tours in both Aus and NZ, his much anticipated self titled debut LP has hit us damn hard.
Marlon Williams’ self-titled debut album is a deep-rooted record. His vocals are sublime and his stories are both heartbreaking and inspiring.
Marlon Williams was recorded in his home town of Lyttelton, in fellow musician and producer Ben Edwards’ Sitting Room studio on Hawkhurst road and with his Mumma’s house just five doors down, he claims to have only left the street for some good ol’ cold bevs, during the recording process. Williams is a unique entity. In 2015, a time where far too much music is alike, he has set an impossibly high standard. Combining excruciatingly strong elements of Townes Van Zandt style melancholy country, low down delta blues alike those of Blind Willie Johnson’s and folk that tells stories kindred to those of Johnny Cash’s.
These old time elements are crucial yet cease to completely impress without a touch of the modern era. A slight strand of indie throughout acts almost like the vein of Williams sound, it keeps all the components pumping coherently, flowin’ straight on through to the heart of everything his music stands for.
No one in this day and age could be emotionally or mentally prepared for such a deep-rooted record, especially coming from a man of just 24. His voice holds a deep tone that evokes tears, giving the album a rather ghoulish aura – an aura that feels somewhat essential. Every now and again a good cry is needed and Marlon Williams is sure to bring those emotions to the forefront, so, whether you like it or not you will find your body will be in a state of shock as soon as his sweet and sombre melodies erupt.
Williams flirts with the dark side throughout the record, each track bringing in lyrics more morbid than the last, most notably in Strange Things where the full extent of his daunting song writing abilities are on show “I lost my wife in 1895 to some kind of undetectable cancer, she left me alone in a seven bedroom home” This long running theme is also present throughout arguably the most mind intrusive track Dark Child; “My little blonde haired, blue eyed boy one day you’ll grow up and be distressed, one day you’ll grow up and reject everything“.
The troubadour shows his lack of conformity on Folk Pop anthem After All, a song which stands out amongst the rest of the comparably dark numbers, “Jealous words they bring us closer, so much closer than I ever thought we’d be”. Williams’ is a mystery, majority of his stories are much bigger than he is and this record highlights that greatly, for it is a record drowned in raw, evocative, acoustic guitar strums that perfectly interweave themselves with Williams’ ex choir boy vocals.
I have feared for the future of country music and what it was declining to, yet Williams has redefined it, perverted our thoughts and broadened the horizons. Marlon Williams is the reminder that country music is about soul and romanticism, about death and yearning, about whatever the hell the artist wants it to be about. Marlon Williams is about to assist this generation, and force upon us a standard of music that hasn’t been produced since the late 1970s. Marlon Williams could be the saviour of country music, or the man who single handedly scares people away for daring to break free of the mould. Marlon Williams is about to do profound things to the world and his debut LP is just the very beginning.
*Yikes. Was not expecting that.
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