Make Way For Love

Marlon Williams

Make Way For Love
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Make Way For Love

Marlon Williams

Known for his effortlessly distinctive voice, Make Way For Love marks Marlon William’s exponential growth as a songwriter. Throughout 11 original songs, he explores new musical terrain and reveals himself in an unprecedented way in the wake of a fractured relationship. In conjunction with today’s album announcement, Marlon announces an international tour and shares the album’s penultimate track, “Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore,” a duet with ex-girlfriend Aldous Harding, recorded after the two broke up via a late-night long distance phone call, and it’s accompany video.


While Make Way For Love draws on Marlon’s own story, a new area for him after conscientiously not sharing his own life in song in the past, it captures the vagaries of relationships we’ve all been through: the bliss, ache, uncertainty, and bitterness. Like the best of breakup records, Make Way For Love doesn’t shy away from heartbreak, but rather stares it in the face, and mines beauty from it. Delicate and bold, tender and searing, it’s a mightily personal new step for Marlon.

Make Way For Love was recorded with producer Noah Georgeson and his backing band, The Yarra Benders, in North California’s Panoramic Studios after several weeks of pre-production in his native Lyttelton, New Zealand with regular collaborator Ben Edwards. The finished result moves Marlon several paces from “country” - the genre that’s been affixed to him more than any in recent years, but one that’s always been a bit too reductive to be wholly accurate - with forays into cinematic strings, reverb, rollicking guitar and at least one quiet piano ballad.

 

Review

Many moons ago, I was privileged enough to witness a very intimate gig at the sorely missed Pure Pop records in St Kilda by a then unknown, fresh-faced Kiwi ex-pat by the name of Marlon Williams. The lucky fifty or so people in attendance were left in no doubt that the young man from the small town of Lyttleton, NZ was every inch a star in the making.

Several moons later, in 2015, Williams burst onto the local and international scene with his wonderful, self-titled debut album. An angelically crooned, Orbisonesque blend of country, folk and bluesy influences, it led to much overseas interest and an eventual appearance on the iconic and hugely influential BBC music program Later … With Jools Holland. The secret was very much out.

His much-anticipated second album, Make Way for Love, is now upon us and it’s clearly a giant artistic leap for Williams. Whilst at times the songwriting chops on his first record were, understandably, not quite there – as is so often the case for such a young artist’s debut – Make Way for Love displays many moments of a newly found depth and intimacy which ultimately add up to some incredibly brave and nerve-shreddingly raw, emotional gut punches.

Amidst the reverb heavy and gorgeously twangy, swirling guitars there are many revelatory lyrical snapshots which darkly detail a love gone wrong – inspired, no doubt, by the recent ending of his long-term relationship with equally wondrous, fellow-Kiwi musician Aldous Harding, who herself released the stunning Party in 2017. Of particular note on Make Way for Love is ‘Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore’ – a duet that Williams and Harding supposedly recorded via a late night, long-distance phone call.

The two are undoubtedly destined for greatness whether together or apart, and it would appear that their mutual sense of loss is very much our gain.


Declan Murphy is the music buyer at Readings St Kilda.

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