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March 5, 2018 | by  | in Arts Music | [ssba]

Marlon Williams – Make Way For Love

Make Way For Love is the excellent second album from up-and-coming Kiwi gem Marlon Williams. This release follows his stellar self-titled debut from 2015, which outlined a disposition for new-school approaches to fundamentally old-school musical stylings in the country/singer-songwriter sphere. Williams possesses one of the most characteristic and stunning voices in contemporary music (might seem hyperbolic, but have you heard the guy?).

Make Way For Love begins with the relaxed “Come To Me”, which sees Williams take a more restrained approach vocally in favour of a more alt-country direction – certainly different to much of the first album sonically. “What’s Chasing You” is one of my early favourites, positioning Williams’ Orbison-esque melody against an upbeat, almost Flying Nun twee inspired set of guitars and drums. It’s groovy, and the hook is an absolute earworm.

Happy vibes aren’t really a commonality throughout Make Way For Love, however, as the record tells the story of Williams’ tumultuous relationship and break-up with fellow Kiwi starlet Aldous Harding. The two combine for a duet in the later stages of the album, entitled “Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore”. Even though their vocal takes were recorded independently of each other, the chemistry shared between the two throughout the track – in addition to an astoundingly dramatic arrangement – positions this track as the emotional epicentre of the album. The second half of the track sees Williams strip it back to the basics: just his voice and a softly strummed guitar. He sounds isolated, anxious, and distraught as he questions what he’ll do with himself now he doesn’t have her around. Whilst the break-up song or album is not a new concept, Williams creates a sense of genuineness through his vocal delivery that stirs all sorts of emotions in a listener – not unlike Jeff Buckley’s more intimate material. This style of singing/writing pops up numerous times on the album, and tracks like “Beautiful Dress” and “The Fire Of Love” serve as further highlights in a similar vein.

All in all, Make Way For Love is a truly brilliant record. Williams wears his heart on his sleeve, and in doing so, adds another dimension to his music which was perhaps left vacant on his first record. I admire the scope of the record too – filled with longing ballads and seething critiques of love, he manages to flank these more negative or saddened songs with ones of hope. The title track, which concludes the record, could be likened to the odd feeling of happiness one experiences when they realise, despite the magnitude of the dissolution of a relationship, that everything might just be okay after all.



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