We Are Climbing Angel Mountain
(Right Track Records)
When you meet this artist, the enthusiasm for music, arranging, playing recording and above all communicating just bursts out of him. It appears to be where he is channeling so much of his energy and creativity. This set is co-produced by Mark Ferguson with input from Richard Woodcraft.
Opening cut and album title track features piano and shimmering tones and the first thing the listener notices – in my case, anyway – is that he sings in exactly the same range as the great Cliff Richard. In this setting of fusion sounds and well-placed strings Rhys’ voice sounds terrific. The song concerns a walk up a hill called Carn Ingli. The Side That Nobody Sees has a mysterious insistent vibe and to me sounds immensely radio-friendly, with its lyrics about ‘the big reveal’. The backing vocals sound just right and as for the bass playing. It is quite stunning and not just pumping the root notes for each chord change. The bass runs are a fine feature of the whole record.
Lightning is somewhat lighter in tone and more in a Leo Sayer/Paul McCartney style. Williams’ diction as often like a teacher’s. Sad Saints uses a relaxed tempo and is a lovely song, no great distance from Gilbert O’Sullivan or Billy Joel. The soft vibes in the background work well and the chorus stays with you.
Chugging piano and stealthy bass give the sing Homes On Fire great effect; I would have added electric violin to this one. The song is another winner. Brandy Head has conspiratorial vocal and concerns life on the rocks. Zeroes & Ones has a tricky tempo and tinge of Tomorrow Never Knows. Rhys here is at the edge of his vocal range, on another good song. Play Jane With Your Last Move is very laid-back and Williams sounds so comfortable singing this. Surely a live hit? A song about sanctuary The Fortress of Solitude benefits from spring-heeled drumming and he sure does sound like Cliff here! Carrying Destiny Home rolls along on a catchy melody. Come Outside is probably the most intimate song here, it sound elemental and cellos are used to decorate the tune; Long After The Light closes the collection in pastoral and poetic mode.
This record is soothing but simultaneously intriguing because of the lyrics. It puts me in mind of Emmitt Rhodes, no bad thing. Some instrumental solo’s would have iced the cake for me, but the melodic compositions and controlled but clearly emotional singing will find Williams many fans.
Rhys Williams’s new studio album ‘We Are Climbing Angel Mountain’ is released on Right Track Records on Friday 3rd March 2017.
You can pre-order the album on Amazon UK here: http://amzn.to/2lyIrKJ
Rhys Williams launches this record on Wednesday 1st March 2017 in London – his site will have details www.rhyswilliamsmusic.com
(Thanks Sam for help with this piece)