Black Country Communion Back!

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William The Conqueror? New LP

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William The Conqueror EXCUSE ME WHILE I VANISH. Chrysalis Records

“My wife was insomniac for the first six months of lockdown, which made it impossible for me to moan or grieve the fact that everything I’d been working on for the last five years had come to a standstill. It was a much-needed perspective and made me realise what a selfish undertaking William had been - navel-gazing with my head in the clouds when what people needed was boots firmly on the ground, preferably on the feet of someone like Mandy.”

“My favourite kind of songwriting is when you have no control over what’s happening” explains frontman Ruarri. “The song just arrives, finding its way through your fingers onto the fret board, as the pen wanders the page and somehow says everything you didn’t realise you needed to say. “The Bruises” was like that. It wasn’t and then all of a sudden, it was.” Bassist Naomi adds, “”The Bruises” will stay with you all day. And with a verse that catchy, you don’t really need a chorus. Which is lucky.

William The Conqueror‘s fourth album finds the indie-rock trio confronting the thin line between creativity and madness, inspired by compassion for the real-life angels of the world. Ruarri’s compelling semi-spoken vocals and swamp-blues-Seattle-scuzz guitars are propelled by the rhythm section of Naomi Holmes (bass) and Harry Harding (drums) as EXCUSE ME WHILE I VANISH delivers a blend of melody and ensemble dynamics, the most accomplished and undeniable William The Conqueror album to-date.

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Review

As a reviewer, I’m always looking for something a little original, a little distinctive. The reason is that so much music released today feels like it has been birthed from the same computer programme - it’s formulaic - and I cannot ascertain its true meaning or emotion because basically it’s not there… So my introduction to William The Conqueror and Ruarr Joseph in this desolate music landscape is something of a large dose of Red Bull.

Take the epic opener ‘The Puppet And The Puppeteer’. The vocal starts at walking/talking pace in a fairly conventional indie rock instrumental style but as the song travels along it gathers momentum and passion with several grungy guitar riffs which raise the temperature and the darkness. There’s a strong melody and rather opaque lyrics which I think point to the way we are autocratically (and badly) governed. The final quarter boasts crashing drums and contemplative vocal with guitars reaching for the sky. Brilliant!

Next comes ‘The Bruises’ which takes on a more contemplative and downbeat vibe. This introspective song about a relationship hits the mark with its strong melody and more transparent lyrics: “Even in the desert sun where you met her/Who could forget her/Dancing like a mirage on the horizon/It’s not surprising that you fell in love with her/Let’s hope she’s still in love with you.” ‘Sheepskin Sleeve’ offers a more jagged and gloomier musical landscape with guitars and drums playing key roles. The conversational vocal is perfectly matched to the song’s more serious vibe.

‘L.W.Y.’ slows the pace even further this time with the vocal dominating proceedings and with the excellent arrangement one is forced to listen to the words: “I’m lost within you/And I’m lost without you.” It’s a highly emotive song that shouts truth and regret. Beautiful!

Ultimately this record represents a welcome breath of fresh air in a rather homogeneous market. It’s superbly written, performed and produced. Listen to the thunderous and hugely melodic ‘Somebody Else’ and you’ll understand my enthusiasm for this superb record. Essential.

5/5

https://www.williamtheconqueror.net/home/


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