Marlon Williams - Self Titled

By Poppy Tohill

Released Friday April 24th, 2015 - Mushroom

Marlon Williams is a name I have heard a lot over the past few years. He seems to pop up anywhere and everywhere... not just in conversation but also on stage, and as an artist, remains someone I am yet to hear a bad word about. Now with the long awaited release of his self titled debut album last month, I'm yet to actually believe there's anything bad that can be said about Williams.

His voice clear and mesmerising, perfectly backed by impressive thundering percussion and bellowing guitars from start to finish, undeniably proves why this record hit the top 30 in the ARIA Album Charts just a week after its release, also currently comfortably sitting at number 4 on the New Zealand Album Charts and being described a "masterpiece" by practically all who've listened.

The foot-stomping opener Hello Miss Lonesome gets the ball rolling at a rollicking pace, as the combined fusions of country, blues and rock & roll instrumentation alongside Williams smooth vocals are more than enough to ensure you want to hear more, following this beauty of a hollering anthem.

The breathtaking and haunting single Dark Child reigns a stand out track on its own, as Williams deep tone and range seeps rights into your soul as his songwriting and lyrical talents also shine bright throughout the ghostly track.

Often described as "the impossible love child of Elvis, Roy Orbison and Townes Van Zandt," the nostalgic rhythm and melody that runs throughout I'm Lost Without You definitely has all the right elements to an old 50's ‘Sun Records' hit. Williams' long drawn out vocals backed by a delicate chorus of repetitive "ooh's" that keep up a gentle sway in the background alongside the sleek instrumentation, are nothing but a match made in heaven.

Rendered with another, even more delicate side of Williams throughout Lonely Side Of Her, you soon come to learn that while Marlon can impeccably deliver up-tempo rock and roll anthems, stripped back acoustic ballads are just as much his thing. Inspired by his own circumstances of the
trials and triumphs of a relationship with another musician, the veracious emotion and story of communication that is the perfect subject to personally connect with any listener, delves deep, pulling at your heartstrings, as the stunning melodies and vocals of both Williams and duet partner Aldous Harding, blend together beyond exquisitely, to create what truly is an incredibly beautiful song.

Silent Passage is another compelling ballad with a sweet and memorable melody that enhances the distinctively clear and poignant vocals of Williams as he's joined by an echoing chorus of smooth and delicate voices and the gentle striking reverberation of a lap slide guitar and violin, in the background.

The beautifully lush Strange Things and When I Was A Young Girl see's Williams' stunning vocals shine their brightest throughout the entire record. Awash with longing and resounding loss, Strange Things retains the ghostly backing vocals that highlight William's voice and songwriting abilities, so well. Combining the emotive lyrics and eerie rhythmic wail of the guitar and violin, this dark, drama-laden track punches well beyond Marlon's young years.

The simplistic structure of the harmonious When I Was A Young Girl is enough to give you goosebumps alone, as the delicately guitar-picked melody backing Williams' enchanting vocals compliment each other exquisitely. Showcasing his sincere and timeless manner and effortless vocal virtuosity which remains the focal point throughout the entirety of the record, it's almost too hard to believe this is William's debut solo album.

Ending on the soft and enthralling instrumentation and breathtaking melodies of Everyone's Got Something To Say, each song from the album takes you on an emotional journey and experience that is bound to give you goosebumps, pull at your heartstrings and bring out your inner cowboy all in one listen. 

4.5 / 5