Friday, March 21, 2008
Guest Review: Astrid Williamson - Boy For You
Here at You Set the Scene we get a lot of music for review. I can't get to it all. In an attempt to get a few more artists some exposure, on occasion I ask friends to help out. Here's a guest review from my friend Scott. As Scott points out, this record was released in Europe in the late 1990s and it's just now getting a domestic release (on Bjork's One Little Indian label). This will be in record stores on April 1st.....
When you download Astrid Williamson’s 1998 album, Boy for You, onto your computer, it shows Folk as the genre. It may be folk music (I guess, if by that the folks at iTunes mean "music for folks"), but it’s not an album of stripped-down, acoustic guitar-based tunes (a la Woody Guthrie, Ellis Paul, etc.).
The songs are lushly produced, with singer-songwriter melodies and lyrics backed up with a full band, lots of backing strings and keyboards and, yes, some acoustic guitar. Think Liz Phair (circa her WhiteChocolateSpaceEgg album, when she was moving from a straight-ahead sound to something more studio album-esque) or Sarah Harmer (circa her All of Our Names and You Were Here albums, before she went all rootsy Canadian bluegrass). Interestingly, Boy for You, WhiteChocolateSpaceEgg, and You Were Here were all released at about the same time, but Williamson’s stuff never got the buzz that the others did (despite the fact that her album is every bit as good as Phair’s and not bad even in comparison to Harmer’s).
In fact, all three of them have similarly smoky, alto voices, which shows off especially well in Williamson’s "Someone." And each of them have a penchant for emotionally (over)wrought up-tempo tunes (see "Hozanna" (compleat with artsy misspelling!)). Nevertheless, if you like slightly dangerous-sounding female singer-songwriters taking it to the next level (like you know I do), it's a fun listen.
Download "I Am the Boy For You"