It’s a name that will be unfamiliar to many but London-based Alex ‘A.A.’ Williams is destined to rise above the radar before too long. With YouTube comparisons with Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle already boosting her reputation, the fact that Holy Roar Records are releasing eponymous EP A.A. Williams is a testament to the growing sense of expectation.
At twenty minutes and four tracks long it’s a tantalising glimpse into Williams’ future: but from the Fiona Apple-esque opener ‘Control’, replete with gentle harmonies and deep piano tones, the tension is palpable. The second movement is as powerful as it is affecting, with guitars and percussion joining the fray. The gorgeous, tragic ‘Cold’ is graced with Country-style acoustic effects and deeply moving vocal, the warm chocolate tones of Torch chanteuse Rumer boosted by a mellow resonance and the cracked voice of experience and loss.
‘Terrible Friends’ would sit seamlessly alongside any track from last year’s Jaye Jayle album: a world-weariness enveloped in a lonely troubadour’s musical drift, the laconic vocal delivering whiskey fumes and smoke through the speakers. Its swell evokes Radiohead’s ‘Lucky’ but possesses a laid back and more introspective air which makes the track more endearing. Rumer’s smoky musings are further enhanced in the closing ‘Belong’, an initially delicate yet devastatingly painful ode to a break-up with sparse and understated instrumentation growing gradually as the vocal emphasis develops. The atmospheric swell of the mid-section is pure Wolfe with the honeyed beauty of Williams’ voice a haunting wonder gliding atop it.
Emotionally gripping, this EP feels like a full-length involvement but that is no bad thing. A.A. Williams has set out her stall as a purveyor of powerful emotion, her wisdom and subtle taste belying her young years, her style pointing toward her being a voice for today’s angst. God bring along an album of this, and soon.
8 / 10