Album review: Marlon Williams, “Marlon Williams”

by Jon E. Lynch

Marlon Williams, ‘Marlon Williams’

Available: Feb. 19 via Dead Oceans on CD, LP and limited edition tan vinyl

Somewhere near the end of 2015, I came across one of many articles written that time of year on the requisite Most Anticipated Records of 2016. It wasn’t the artist name that piqued my interest, but rather the record label. Dead Oceans is the difficult-to-pigeonhole sister label to the Bloomington, Indiana, indie stalwarts Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguawar. The label boasts a diverse roster (A Place To Bury Strangers, Akron/Family, Phosphorescent, Ryley Walker, Bleached, to name a very select few) that, per its mission statement, “will focus on bold and timeless recordings, not emphasizing a particular genre or scene, but instead fostering a diverse stable of sound-creators.” I personally enjoy 80 to 90 percent of the label releases, so I thought I’d blindly give its first release of the year a listen. I recommend you do the same.

Marlon Williams is a New Zealander who has crafted a rich Americana and orchestral-pop record stylistically varied, but tied together by his distinct and pointed voice. There is plenty of straight-ahead roots music, a bit of twang and rich, string-laden noir. It’s a complex record. It’s a beautiful record. My only complaint is at nine tracks and 35 minutes in length, you’re left wanting more. The record hits its stride just as it closes.

Recommended if you like Elvis Perkins, Timber Timbre, Kevin Morby, The Tallest Man On Earth or Nick Cave

— Jon E. Lynch, [email protected]

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