Review Summary: the classic case of a band being seen to lapse in the wake of a master effort, though Having is by no means any less of an album despite its defining precursor.
It’s an unfortunate circumstance that whatever Trespassers William release will be overshadowed by the impeccable Different Stars
– though this is a reality that inevitably comes with the band, their talent at composing beautiful songs within beautiful albums is certainly not restricted to their, if you will, ‘magnum opus’. Having
is the album that succeeds Different Stars
, and despite being almost thematically identical, it marks the beginning of the band’s ambient and furthered shoegaze experimentation. The label shoegaze is generally an inappropriate one when used in regards to Trespassers William, but subsequent records from the band arguably show a tendency to move away from the slowcore-inspired indie of Different Stars
to dreamier pastures. Having
, however, combines the best of both sides to Trespassers William – containing the fragility of Anna-Lynne Williams’ exquisite voice, the placid and remarkably serene ambiance that the band has all but perfected, as well as the soon to be normalised atmospheric focus, Having
is perhaps Trespassers Williams’ most consistent record.
Particular tracks on Different Stars
were of utmost perfection (the title track comes to mind), and though the rest of the album was not far off this pinnacle in heart-wrenching quietude, there was an apparent disparity throughout the record. Though it was a minor discrepancy (I would be the last to try and argue any faults in the album’s fluidity), Different Stars
can be characterised more so in its ups and downs rather than a single surge. Having
indubitably has its hooks – opener ‘What of Me’ combines a sense of calm and abstraction, perfectly reflecting the band’s mastery of finding profundity in languor. However, there is far less of a focus on particular songs, making way for the band’s attempt to cast a blanket of smoothness over the entire record. To generalise, each succeeding track takes the initial tone set by ‘What of Me’ and twists it into various shapes, from the Slowdive inspired piece ‘Eyes Like Bottles’ to the expansive closer ‘Matching Weight’. Though in analysis the various elements that make up the complete Trespassers William sound can be identified, their cohesion throughout the record is best left undisturbed.
As much praise as I can give Having
, many of you who come into it from the almost immaculate position of Different Stars
will still be disappointed. It does not have the instant recognition their sophomore does, and certainly requires more effort on the behalf of the listener to unravel the album’s layers. However, one will find that Having
has a remarkable level of depth, a sense of complexity that takes its time to sink in, unlike the immediate adoration Different Stars
insists. The ten minute closer ‘Matching Weight’ is a fine representation of the album’s intricacy; slowly working through its textures, Williams’ gentle approach enhances the song’s mood to the point of utter despondency, the band then making a point of their minimalism in the last few minutes. Of course, as a loyal devotee to the cult of Anna-Lynne Williams, ‘different’ and ‘stars’ will be the first two words out of my mouth at the very mention of Trespassers William; but with the insatiable thirst that comes with knowing the band, rest assured that they will certainly not be my last, and they shouldn’t be yours either. Do not make the mistake of ignoring Having
– it is affecting to perhaps a lesser degree, but one must keep in mind this is in comparison to an album that defines the band. Having
is, without a doubt, worth all the praise I can muster.