Mar­lon Williams


Make Way for Love

Like his friend, com­pa­triot and oc­ca­sional col­lab­o­ra­tor Tami Neil­son, New Zealand trou­ba­dour Mar­lon Williams is a shape-shift­ing mu­si­cal chameleon. On pre­vi­ous record­ings, he has tra­versed blues, blue­grass, coun­try, folk and rock ter­rain with au­thor­ity, but this eclec­ti­cism may have been a ca­reer hin­drance. This re­lease, how­ever, is far more fo­cused, com­prised of songs writ­ten in the af­ter­math of a re­la­tion­ship’s end. Williams ex­plores the full gamut of emo­tions, and that rich and res­o­nant voice is the per­fect ve­hi­cle. There is the pas­sion­ate plead­ing of “Can I Call You,” with lines like “let her find her way to you, I can’t be sure if she ever will.” Be­gin­ning with sparse pi­ano and a gui­tar strum, it builds with strings that will tug at your heart­strings with­out be­com­ing melo­dra­matic. “Party Boy” is a jeal­ousy-fu­elled tune with a touch of malev­o­lence, yet it has a frisky ’50s vibe to it. Another high­light is “No­body Gets What They Want Any­more,” a lush duet with Al­dous Harding; the fact that this was recorded af­ter Williams’ breakup with the singer adds fur­ther in­ten­sity to the pow­er­ful bal­lad. There is def­i­nitely some­thing retro about Williams’ vo­cals and the pro­duc­tion on the al­bum, with ob­vi­ous ref­er­ence points be­ing such emo­tion­ally ex­pres­sive bal­ladeers as Roy Or­bi­son, Scott Walker and Chris Isaak. The re­sult is a stun­ning work that will draw you back to re­peated, if oft in­tense, lis­ten­ing. (Dead Oceans www.dead­o­

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