Album: Kathryn Williams

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The Independent Culture

As might be expected from a songwriter with a penchant for odd, discomfiting observations, who specialises in sketching pivotal moments from lives stained by regret and rejection, the material Kathryn Williams has selected for this album of cover versions is of largely melancholic cast, despite being drawn from diverse, unusual sources. Her version of "Birds" is even more mournful than Neil Young's, though its blend of delicate harmonies and guitar picking is more mellifluous than the portentous drums and chilly squalls of violin with which she interprets Nirvana's "All Apologies". Williams' vocal performances are marked by taste and restraint, and the settings are devised to match the material, with toy piano lending an extra vulnerability to Tim Hardin's "Hang on to a Dream", glockenspiel percussion providing shading on the Velvets' "Candy Says", and Mae West's "A G

As might be expected from a songwriter with a penchant for odd, discomfiting observations, who specialises in sketching pivotal moments from lives stained by regret and rejection, the material Kathryn Williams has selected for this album of cover versions is of largely melancholic cast, despite being drawn from diverse, unusual sources. Her version of "Birds" is even more mournful than Neil Young's, though its blend of delicate harmonies and guitar picking is more mellifluous than the portentous drums and chilly squalls of violin with which she interprets Nirvana's "All Apologies". Williams' vocal performances are marked by taste and restraint, and the settings are devised to match the material, with toy piano lending an extra vulnerability to Tim Hardin's "Hang on to a Dream", glockenspiel percussion providing shading on the Velvets' "Candy Says", and Mae West's "A Guy What Takes His Time" done as a country-blueswith rickety percussion. A drone of cello brings a fragility to Big Star's "Thirteen", while Python Lee Jackson's "In a Broken Dream" is re-cast perfectly as a spooky folk ballad with strings. But her rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" provides the most reliable link with her earlier work.

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