Vinyl Williams


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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra

After releasing an album in 2012, Lemniscate, that seemed to jam all the musical ideas young Vinyl Williams (aka Lionel Williams) ever had into each song, his second album dials down the ambition in favor of a more focused and relaxed approach. Released in 2015, Into refines the sprawling and overstuffed space rock meets chillwave of the first album, and repurposes it into something that works much better. Taking a cue from his new mentor and label boss, Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi, Williams sets the controls for the heart of chill, with echoing waves of reverb that gently rock the listener and fluffy clouds of sound that cushion them at all times as well. Working deep inside the smoothly sculpted, easy-to-swallow framework of the album, Williams delivers one laid-back, softly nocturnal gem after another, sometimes easing into soft rock disco territory ("World Soul"), sometimes delivering something a little artier yet still wrapped in dry ice (the pulsing "Hall of Records"). He does a nice job of blending banks of vintage synths with new wave guitars and skillfully programmed drum machines, with the occasional live drums to keep things loose. To keep things from settling into too much of a samey groove, Williams takes on some different styles, like the rollicking Stereolab-in-space "Gold Lodge," the formless soundscape "Eter-Wave-Agreement," and a little bit of weirdo late-night R&B on "The Tears of an Inanimate Object" and "Allaz." The album-ending "Xol Rumi" is like the whole album boiled down and blown out into a ten-minute song, and shows Williams has the imagination and ability to go epic if he wants to. It's a thrilling way to end an already impressive album that's quite an improvement over his previous effort and on par with the best chilly, spacy avant pop around in 2015.

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