Give the impact of her debut album, it is astonishing to think that A. A. Williams only made her stage debut in April 2019. As a classically trained pianist, she uniquely and exceptionally blends elements of post-rock and post-classical music.
Her stunning eight-track debut is named after a track which didn’t make the album’s final cut but, Williams explains, “it still encapsulated these songs”. The album explores love and loss in its many intricacies and features guest vocals from Johannes Persson (Cult Of Luna), Fredrik Kihlberg (Cult Of Luna) and Tom Fleming (One True Pairing, ex-Wild Beasts).
Lyrically, ‘Forever Blue’ is undeniably dark but there is a contrast between the lyrics and the music which can be uplifting. “If only I was someone else / I could have tried to help myself,” is the captivating first line of the opening track ‘All I Asked For (Was To End It All)’.
A .A. Williams has an ethereal voice – one which sings about pain in an understated and gentle manner. Her lyrics are melancholy and forlorn before we see the introduction of a soaring strings section. Previous single ‘Melt’ features enchanting vocals. She sings about being lied to, finding herself alone and coming to terms with it in the six minute track. “I belong on my own / I belong with nothing at all,” muses the artist. It’s a passionate track with the drums kicking in during the chorus to accompany the dark orchestral sounds.
‘Melt’, like other tracks on this album, begins very quietly and serenely only to build into the high drama of a full band, perhaps to symbolise Williams growing stronger. It addresses self-worth and the acceptance of independence. With ‘Dirt’, Williams opts for a minimalist and sentimental sound, which is just sublime. Her vocals are stirring and emotive, while conveying raw emotion that perfectly encapsulates the anxieties and addictions of love and loss.
A succinct but affecting collection, ‘Forever Blue’ is a confident debut, one that carries the weight of experience beyond her years.
Words: Narzra Ahmed
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