The Breach by R P Williams is an album of acoustic-based folk ballads. Williams proves himself to be an excellent lyricist, melodist and guitarist in the vein of Red House Painters.
The final third of the album is the strongest. “Way Back To Her” is the best song on the album with a fantastic vocal delivery, great lyrics and excellent interplay between all the instruments. If it hasn’t already been, this song is destined to be on the soundtrack to a film or television with its emotional weight, beautiful acoustic guitar runs and thick organ textures. “Serene” locks in well and has a magnificent melody in the chorus, though it would be nice to hear it without so much vocal processing as Williams’ voice is quite good on its own. The guitar solo is very emotional and the wind chime-like splashes are a nice touch.
“Hold On To The Light” concludes the album and stands out for being completely stripped down to only voice and Travis-picked guitar that could come straight out of the Gaslight Café in the early 1960s. It’s a wonderful stark look at Williams’ writing and performance that really showcases his talents. The light synth strings are subtle and are a nice touch.
Another strong song that appears in the middle of the album, “The Neon Sheltering Sky” has a Brian Wilson-ish melodic and harmonic interplay which works quite beautifully incorporating a keyboard, acoustic guitar and some synth strings. The chord changes are quite interesting and the openness of the song really lets each instrument and word breathe. “Train To Somewhere” is a James Taylor-esque song with some picturesque lyrics and dreamy strums of guitars and pianos. The guitar solo with its Steely Dan like runs is again the co-star of the song.
“Long Way Down” opens with some beautiful flutes and moves into a gorgeous ballad that could fit into the playlist for a high school slow dance in a great way. The bluesy electric guitar fills at the end are a bit busy, but still add a nice tone.
The album stumbles a bit when some of the production gets in the way. “Perfect Mistake” is a gentle song in the vein of 1970s soft rock. There are some rhythmic conflicts between the drums and the rest of the band at times, but the guitar solo is absolutely stellar and really propels the dynamics of the songs. “It Will Be Done” has some Van Morrison qualities to the productions in the organ, lead guitar, but vocally sounds like Badly Drawn Boy hanging out with Ray Lamontagne. The guitar solo is very George Harrison-ish, and the addition of the tambourine is a clever way of pushing the song forward, although the drums do stumble here and there.
“The Breach” is a bit more uptempo and has an interesting synth-y vocal opening and instrumental breaks. Again though, the rhythmic conflicts of the drums with the rest of the track keep the song from ever finding its groove. Still, there is a great guitar break, which concludes the song. “Let’s Not Lose Again” is an acoustic-based song that has some Band-like organ and piano flourishes and some interesting harmony vocals that add some nice support but occasionally get lost in a some Mellodyne-ness.
Overall, Williams really shines when he shows off his voice unprocessed and his excellent guitar work. It would be nice to hear him expand his songwriting a bit in terms of tempo and mood, but he does what he does very well.
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