Astrid Williamson - Here Come the Vikings

2009-07-06 14:51
Here Come the Vikings
Ok, sure it's a stereotype, but Astrid Williamson's clearly decided it fits her. The stereotype. And the jacket. But luckily she's not just another Tori Amos pre-sexout revivalist. Instead she's a pop singer songwriter whose music and lyrics just that much bit too intelligent for regular radio play girl – unless she takes her clothes off, including that jacket.

And she doesn't.

Most good singer songwriters seem to be thoughtful melancholy-mongers; damaged old souls like Willy Mason and Conor Oberst, or unlikely to record anything very important again, like Paul Simon or Paul McCartney. Astrid's something different to both the pop scene and the singer-songwriting scene where she's better. She’s thoughtful and joyful, and weirdly sensible: "Don't store those heavy things so high", Ms Williamson advises on the opening track. She wouldn't slit her wrists if she felt sad. She’d probably book a therapy session, take a deep breath, and do a bit of yoga.

Production uses a light, feminine pool of well-integrated drums, synths, guitars and occasionally piano to float her creamy vocals. The result is a mix of music for a variety of moods - one track perfect for watching the miles peel thoughtfully away under your tyres on a sunny day, the next idea l for a casual late night rendezvous.

The smoothness and heavy echo and fast-moving meltdown of its synthetic post-eighties production make for un-memorably pleasant last impression, too easily swallowed. Then again, so is store-bought crème caramel and nobody complains about that at dinner parties.

Q: How do you tell if a girl writes rhyming poetry? A: She wears velvet jackets.

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