Astrid Williamson

Day of the Lone Wolf

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Finally deigning to use her surname for the first time in her solo career, Astrid Williamson returns with the delicate but deceptively substantial Day of the Lone Wolf. Williamson has been seen as something of a Scottish Lisa Germano ever since her first solo album, 1998's Boy for You, which was produced by Germano's former musical partner Malcolm Burn. There are certainly shared elements between the two singer/songwriters -- similar tastes for whispery vocals, nakedly confessional lyrics, and intricately layered arrangements that fuse acoustic and electronic instruments -- but on Day of the Lone Wolf, Williamson seems not like a clone or a wannabe, but like a contemporary working in a similar style. Songs like "True Romance," a lengthy piano-driven ballad that slowly builds to a quietly intense emotional climax as strings, backing vocals, and other instruments appear and recede in the complex but not overstuffed arrangement, reveal Williamson to be a mature artist, albeit in a style filled with similarly gifted singer/songwriters. Comparisons not only to Germano but to Tori Amos, Kate Bush, or Beth Orton are not unwarranted, but they shouldn't be taken as reductive; although Williamson is still guilty of some somewhat cringe-worthy lyrics (like this one from "Another Twisted Thing": "I went to the sea and I asked it how does it feel to touch the edge of everything at once?"), but even the worst are couched in such appealing tunes that it doesn't take much to discount them.

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