Monday 26 June 2017

Review: David E. Williams – 'Hospice Chorale'

'Hospice Chorale'

Returning to the roots of lyrical nihilism dressed in delicate arrangements David E. Williams latest album 'Hospice Chorale' twists and turns through melancholic atmospheres and fragile pop hooks too unveil a tapestry of thirteen catchy, provocative and intelligently performed pieces. Neo-classical, meets cabaret before morphing into minimalist synthpop and power electronics. It's an utterly engrossing listening experience underpinned by Williams' deep vocals that strikes with the weight of the dark yet playful lyrics.

Songs such as 'The One Who Doesn't Die', 'War On Despair', 'Someday I Will Live My Life As A Horse', 'Vinegar Stew', 'Lillian Awoke', and 'Workplace Autumn' build the album around a chord of dark cabaret infused classical piano paired with Williams voice before being punctuated by synths and occasionally subtle rhythms.

But as things progress the more experimental things become, from the deathrock guitar of 'BDA 30', and the acoustic guitar melting into the the psychedelic headspace of 'Thailand? (Why Can't All The World Be' through to the the demonic electronic nightmares of 'Suicide Skyline (Method Two)' and 'Catholic Nihilist'. The end result is a wonderfully varied album that keeps you guessing until the end, yet doesn't alienate the listener with it's sudden experimental shifts.

In terms of production is feels rough in a live performance kind of way. It would be easy to imagine Williams and a couple of friends performing this in it's entirety the corner of a smoky café. But in terms of performance it is done expertly and the balance between the harsh and light elements is maintained so it isn't a massive shock to the system when one is suddenly interrupted by the other.

'Hospice Chorale' is a great avant garde album that feels honest in its use of experimentation. There is a nice balance of light and dark, innocence and experience running throughout the album and while the styles at play may feel quite varied, everything flows nicely and still feels quite welcoming. It is a fine addition to Williams' already impressive discography and one that should be thought of as another highlight.  

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