On his follow-up to 2011's Euphoria, L.A.'s Devon Williams expands his sonic palette with a cleaner and ultimately more relaxed rendering of his artful, romantic indie pop. The heavily chorused guitars and distinct echoes of classic new wave and power pop remain, but there is something softer and more contemplative about Gilding the Lily that puts a bit more focus on the songwriting and less on his many influences. Working again with producer Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Lansing-Dreiden, Violens), the arrangements are soft and shimmering, focused mainly around Williams' ornate guitar parts with soft synth ornamentations and a solid, effective rhythm section. The stylistic sheen of mid-'80s pop is immediately apparent on the lush, dynamic opener "Deep in the Back of Your Mind," and that aesthetic remains throughout the album's 11 tracks as Williams offers a more laid-back, romantic side of himself, especially on stand-out cuts like "All I Have to Do" and "Will You Let Go of My Heart." The frequent use of acoustic 12-string guitar adds a nice touch to many of the songs offering organic hints amid the smooth pop, much like Love & Rockets did in the late '80s. Songs like "Pendulum" and especially the complex, thumping "Flowers" benefit from these glistening acoustic tones which even out some of the density that might otherwise derail these nicely written tunes. Fans of complex, smart pop will be attracted to Williams' attention to detail, but the songwriting itself is also deeply melodic and more lyrically and emotionally honest than before.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger