Astrid Williamson - Pulse (Music CD)

Release Date: 22 August 2011
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Captivated by a performance from Brian Eno's Pure Scenius project at the 2010 Brighton Festival, Shetland-born chanteuse Astrid Williamson had a brainwave for her fifth studio album, Pulse, and subsequently bombarded guitarist Leo Abrahams with dozens of demos until he agreed to work with the former Goya Dress frontwoman. With someone so closely associated with the Roxy Music maverick on board, it's no surprise that the follow-up to 2009's Here Come the Vikings veers away from her usual alt-rock sound in favor of an otherworldly blend of acoustic dream pop and ambient electronica, but it's still a joy to discover how natural and effortless the change in direction is. Indeed, 13 years into her solo career, Williamson appears to have found her forte. Full of spaciously lush soundscapes, Abrahams' presence can be heard all over the album's ten tracks, from the ghostly industrial effects on the haunting "Underwater" to the lilting piano hooks and subtle techno beats of the gorgeous lead single "Pour," to the twinkling glockenspiels and skittering rhythms of opener "Dance." But while the atmospheric production could have swamped lesser singer/songwriters, Williamson's ethereal, whispered tones and understated but enchanting melodies ensure she remains the focus of the record, whether it's on the hazy shoegazing pop of "Miracle," the eerie Americana of "Reservation," or the Goldfrapp-goes-tribal vibes of "Cherry," while stripped-back ballads "Connected" and "Paperbacks" reveal an intimacy which justifies the frequent Joni Mitchell comparisons. As the saying goes, "from small acorns do mighty oaks grow," and that one light-bulb moment amid a crowd of experimental pop fans has resulted in Williamson's most accomplished and spell-binding album to date. ~ Jon O'Brien
Release Date: 22 August 2011

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Catalogue No: TPLP1093CD