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Astrid Williamson - Here Come the Vikings

  by Lisa Torem

published: 23 / 4 / 2009

Astrid Williamson - Here Come the Vikings
Label: One Little Indian
Format: CD


Eclectic fourth solo album from Shetland Isles-born and now Brighton-based singer-songwriter Astrid Williamson, which while remaining true to her folk roots, also finds her venturing inton the environs of torch song, soul and pop-rock.

Brighton-based soulful, singer-songwriter Astrid Williamson releases her fourth solo album, 'Here Come The Vikings'. Goya Dress, her last venture, was an indie trio which launched 3 EPs and one LP 'Rooms', which was produced by John Cale. On her own steam she then ignited 'Boy For You', 'Astrid Williamson' and 'Day Of The Lone Wolf'. 'Here Come The Vikings' showcases Williamson’s versatility as a songstress and writer. A Shetland Island native, she remains true to folk and roots heritage music, but this album is a tour de force by which she stretches her musical muscles venturing into the stark environs of torch song, soul and pop-rock. On 'Pinned' she plays delicate, broken piano chords and utters, "Wait until I’m gone/Throw myself into the garbage/Here’s another sun sucked into the grave horizon.” 'Slake' is a spoken-word potion of tense, high-wire voltage that builds instrumentally and vocally to a psychedelic, fever pitch. 'Eve' is an emotional story-song requiring several listens. “The map on the wall just reminds you/You don’t love her/You don’t love her/You don’t love her anymore." Just when you think you get it, however, you hear, “She’s so soft when she wraps herself around you/You feel resistance, somewhere in the distance.” And other images on 'Eve' draw you closer to the forbidden, “Her shoes are the backbone of serpents/It makes you wonder.” And it does make you wonder. Horn and drum fills intensify your angst. This slo-mo epic evaporates through your senses. It sounds like a soundtrack to a romantic thriller where the protagonist is a cunning female vixen. The lyrics leave you marvelously stranded – “If you could just leave her/Deceive her…” You don’t know whose side to take, but Williamson’s voice makes you believe it doesn’t matter. 'Crashing Minis' appears to be autobiographical as Williamson reveals about a past boyfriend, “our relationship was a bit of a car crash.“ This song zeroes in on madness characterized by electronic clashes, and a cacaphanous medley of blinding theatrics. “And your eyes are so green/Did you love, did you fall?” Williamson pits pure vocals against mini- drops of instrumental drizzle. She milks the melody of 'Crashing Minis' like a nuzzling newborn – subversive melodic strains whistle in the background. 'Shut Your Mouth' is a poppy invective recalling the beloved British invasion by boy-bands at their most charming and with their resounding yeah yeahs and woohs. The techno-pop, 'How You Take My Breath Away,” seamlessly switches from major to minor beneath, “Winter spreads its fingers round your throat/It takes your breath away” and “sometimes saying nothing says it all.” But the “how you ooo, how you ooo” makes for half the fun. “They say a little information can be a dangerous thing,” we hear in 'Falling Down.' The chorus invites us to contemplate, “love is all we need/Why do we keep falling down ?” Is this a revival of an innocent sensibility often lost today? Williamson wrote, produced and arranged, 'Here Come the Vikings' and to her credit, with a siren’s voice and a writer’s heart, she etches beauty on everything she has touched.

Track Listing:-
1 Storm
2 Sing The Body Electric
3 Shut Your Mouth
4 How You Take My Breath Away
5 Crashing Minis
6 Falling Down
7 Pinned
8 Slake
9 Eve
10 The Stars Are Beautiful

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Interview (2009)
Astrid Williamson - Interview
In our second interview with her, Shetlands-born singer-songwriter and former Goya Dress frontwoman Astrid Williamson talks to Lisa Torem about her risk-taking forthcoming fourth solo album, 'Here Come the Vikings' which incorporates together elements of electronica, folk and punk


Pulse (2011)
Offbeat yet ultimately deeply moving fifth album from Scottish singer-songwriter and pianist Astrid Williamson, which finds her collaborating with ambient guitarist Leo Abrahams

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