Soundchecks Music Reviews

Day of the Lone Wolf by Astrid Williamson

Incarnation Records TPLP727CD

Astrid Williamson

review by Steve Palmer

Astrid Williamson has released a couple of solo works before this one (Astrid Williamson and Boy For You), but she is perhaps best known as the voice of the band Goya Dress. In this new album, her Joni Mitchell-like voice wraps itself around a number of lovely ballads, and some more up-tempo material.

The album kicks off with Siamese, a gentle song with incomprehensible lyrics but a dreamlike quality. The vocals are half sung, half whispered. This is followed by Superman 2, and now Astrid's voice is reminiscent of Avril Lavigne - but in a good way. The song has an indie feel and would be a great single. Intro is another strong song, with a great guitar part, and there is more depth in Astrid's voice, though the lyrics are bland; there is a distinctly Beth Orton-esque sound to this track however, which is no bad thing. Reach is a sultry call to a lover, with heavily reverbed vocals and a great sound. Decadent in the extreme...

After these opening tracks the album changes mood. True Romance begins almost as a slice of Americana, before turning into another superb Orton-esque slow-burner. This one reminded me strongly of some of Daniel Lanois' work; there is a great Hammond-style organ noodling away in the background, and the drumming is simultaneously lazy and tight. Terrific track, this. Carlotta is a reverbed piano piece, purely instrumental, before The Jam riff off That's Entertainment launches us into Shhh..., another contender for a single. This is about as poppy as the album gets, but it works. Not sure what the lyrics are about, but hey...

Tonight is perhaps the most Mitchell-esque track on the album, and maybe the best tune. The luscious arrangement features strings, glockenspiels (I think), great backing vocals and more. The gothic Another Twisted Thing is a slow burner, and then we are into the penultimate track, Forgive Me, based on a shuffling drum part and gentle acoustic guitars. Astrid's voice is again in Mitchell territory, to good effect. The album closes with a haunting voice and piano piece.

Fans of Beth Orton, Dido or Joni Mitchell would love this album. It's not as poppy as Dido and not as freaky as Joni Mitchell, but it sits comfortably between the two. The moods jump around a little, occasionally to jarring effect, but the overall feel is seductive. This is classic Sunday morning music...

Edited by Tony Lee
for PIGASUS Press