Review Summary: Trespassers William explore the abstract side of shoegaze.
When speaking about the shoegaze genre only a few names usually come up. The big two seem to be My Bloody Valentine
with honorable mentions given to bands such as Chapterhouse
or Cocteau Twins
. For some reason Trespassers William never seem to get mentioned when discussing quality shoegaze and that’s a shame. All three of their full-length albums are worth looking into and Different Stars
is arguably one of the genre’s best but no one seems to know it exists. It is the near-perfect blend of ethereal sounds, echo-filled guitar and haunting female vocals. Admittedly, this EP is not an extension of that album’s formula but it is still another quality release from the band.
The songs on The Natural Order of Things
are very minimalistic, mainly consisting of gentle layers of synth, restrained percussion, subdued guitar melodies, indistinct sounds and the beautiful vocals of Anna-Lynne Williams. The band utilizes these elements to create musical soundscapes that contain very little actual form. Sounds seem to simply ebb and flow while multiple layers of vocals delicately float through it all. Due to the fluid nature of the music, this EP ends up being something that is best experienced as one cohesive encounter. The opening track, “Sparrow”, is used to slowly ease into the mood by providing a loose structure that allows for a gradual introduction for the songs that follow. After “Sparrow”, though, things take a turn towards the abstract. At this point the EP casually moves forward in a very smooth and amorphous manner allowing for chance appearances from various melodies and sounds, with Anna-Lynne’s voice the only constant. The final track returns just enough structure to gently close out the final moments in a memorable fashion.
In case it isn’t obvious, this album is not something that can be passively listened to. To really enjoy it the way it was intended will require attention, repetition and the willingness to play the entire EP – anything less is a waste of time. Any song, when taken individually, loses the atmosphere the song before it had perpetuated almost like starting a story somewhere in the middle of a book. For those willing to give it the required attention, they’ll find a quality shoegaze album that leans far into the ethereal/ambient side of the genre and hopefully it will also prompt them to delve into this band’s excellent back-catalog.