Ieuan Williams – Love and The Minor Key

Love & The Minor KeyThe world has a long history of people picking up their guitars and asking us to listen. That's led us nicely to Ieuan Williams. This Welsh born acoustic artisan, now residing in Bristol, has for a while been enriching his handcrafted music with influences from Elliot Smith and Jeffrey Lewis, and to more contemporary names like Frank Turner and Ben Marwood. Alongside this stands the influence of a slew of literary and filmic bed rocked material. His self-recorded debut album, Love and The Minor Key, is a soundtrack to the emotional spectrum. While it may not surprise anyone with a wooden library packed full of guitar players, it’ll still slide nicely into most noticeable shelves.

After a lengthy introduction of following sampled dialogue from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, with evidence of Ieuan’s proficient multi-instrumentalism, “Once, We Were Romantics” chronicles the trajectory of every failed relationship, but with a ‘matter-of-fact’ disclaimer. Cymbals and horns are present throughout Love and The Minor Key, but never do the bells and whistles outdo the guitar, which expresses a mixture of playing techniques and memorable hooks.

Indeed the six-string work of Love and The Minor Key is its distinguishable facet, disguising the hints of a lovely instrumental album, had the songwriting been removed. That, however, would be less than desirable. The stream of consciousness approach which carries many of Ieuan’s foreboding is clear through his many allusions to the casual philosophy of an alcoholic breath, seen most strongly in the tributary “Here’s to you, Nick Adams” line of: “We don’t drink for the sake, we don’t drink for the taste. We drink for the smile, every once in a while, it might dare to put on our face.

The choice of lyrical concerns on Love and The Minor Key may feel a little derivative, at times meandering, but the refreshing lack of a needlessly repeated chorus makes each number a truly unique labour, and serves as much of an individual mark as those made by the potato stamp for the record’s cover art. That along with in-knowledge references to “living like Hemmingway for an hour or two,” and “Breakfast Club romantics, in the finale “Give Up”, are an involving treat and clear indicator for those don’t want to be inaccessible listeners.

Ieaun William’s first full length outing won’t bring anything new in the music of love, life and earning a living, but, as the shortest yet sweetest track “Dishwater” demonstrates, everything most enjoyable in such an approach is at a hugely high standard. Atmospheric and affirming, it’s every desired outcome from longtime bedroom guitar playing.

Released: 3rd February 2014, Self-release


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