REVIEW: Kathryn Williams Crown Electric (One Little Indian)
Cracking Kath’s been well worth the wait
Published 30/12/2013 | 14:27
LIKE a bespoke craftsperson, Kathryn Williams creates her albums with great attention to detail. Nothing is haphazard.
But it's her talent that has made her such a reliable bet since she began releasing music in 1999.
Not that she ever sounded like these other artists. “It's like giving someone directions towards where I am,” she reasoned about those comparisons.
This 13-track collection, released next week, is Williams' 10th studio album. And, four years in the making, produced by Niall MacColl, it's a gem.
Williams knew she was onto something special when she came across the title, which is the name of the power company a teenage Elvis Presley worked for as a truck driver. “It has strength to it,” she says. “It's steadfast.”
Gave it Away is a meditation inspired by the possibility of what Elvis might have missed had he stayed in the day job. “I didn't lose love,” she sings. “I gave it away.”
There's a sense from these songs that each one is a statement of intent, a declaration of defiance or a hymn of personal reassurance.
“You can make the darkness light,” she sings on Darkness Light, with Spector-ish Heritage Orchestra adding to the melodic swoop of the Fabs at their most optimistic. It's one of three tracks that Ed Harcourt plays piano on. Monday Morning has a yearning that John Lennon was master of, as Luke Flowers adds a touch of Ringo with his beat.
Each lyric sounds like it was written in the wee small hours. The recent single Heart Shaped Stone has a cinematic quality that evokes the timeless writing of Jimmy Webb. The muted brass on Out Of Time adds a late-night Carpenters-style lounge feel to this contemplative ballad.
Like all great songwriters, Williams sings through her fears.