On her debut full-length album Forever Blue, the U.K.-based singer-songwriter A.A. Williams has captured a stunning musical encapsulation of traveling deep into some emotional woods. There’s an invitingly peaceful sense that runs through much of her music, which often feels quite meditative, but once listeners are inside the world of her songs, she and her bandmates deliver a swirling, immersive range of dynamics that shift the album into even more illustrious territory. Listening feels as if one has suddenly discovered some dimly lit forest in which the light of a full moon illuminates the surroundings just enough to make the teeming forest life visible.
Williams’s songs mostly feel quite somber, and she amplifies this sense with powerful crescendos across Forever Blue. The closing segments of “Melt,” which is the second song on the album, feature an especially powerful pinnacle of emotional release, as if the surging guitar melodies, which are intertwined across the album with elements like piano and cello music, are themselves waves from a moonlit ocean that are cleansing the shoreline as they pass.
Most of the melodies across Forever Blue feel very extended, in a style reminiscent of especially immersive, atmospheric post-rock. The contributions from the core traditional instruments, including the guitar, bass, and drums, flow like wisps of smoke rather than becoming overly cacophonous. Each melody that appears on the album feels richly rewarding, and diving into the carefully sincere music translates some of that sense of reward to listeners, right through the album’s closing track, which is an introspective piano-driven ballad. Listeners can flow right along with the album’s emotional exploration.
Although some of the more intense moments on Forever Blue do get physically and emotionally foreboding, a sense of peace is never far behind. “Dirt,” for instance, which immediately follows “Melt,” features a prominent acoustic guitar. When the music does get into more intense territory, the consistently strong yet somber melody runs through the music as a strong foundation. That emotionally compelling core amidst the rich music continues right through “Fearless,” on which vocalist Johannes Persson of the Swedish post-metal band Cult Of Luna makes an appearance.
Williams’s own singing, which is a very prominent part of her music, is another one of the strong, especially shining threads that helps tie the music together. In her singing, she combines a clear emotional vulnerability with a sense of strength, and this combination of an emergence of peaceful strength with potentially tumultuous intensity washes across the entire album’s experience.
Check out Forever Blue by A.A. Williams below! It’s available now via Bella Union.