on 30 September 2013
Every since her 1999 debut 'Dog leap Stairs' through the Mercury nominated 'Little Black Numbers' and he collaborations with neill MacColl and myriad other projects, Kathryn has been one of the UK's most consistently excellent singer songwriters. This album, her tenth, seems to be the culmination of all of her work so far. There is a deep emotional strength in the music, the wonderful string arrangements that make the single, 'Heart Shaped Stone' fly with its catchy chorus (and bonkers video!). Highlights include the two tracks co-written with Ed Harcourt 'Morning Twilight' on which their voices harmonize beautifully and 'Sequins' underpinned by a lovely piano figure from Ed as Kathryn's moving and witty lyric confronts death with calm resolve and a smile. There are many sentiments expressed on the album that those striving to cope in the workaday world can relate to whether its the ennui of 'Monday Morning' or the feeling that time is slipping away and needing to make each second 'Count'.
For those already fans and those wanting a mature, reflective slice of melancholy, this album is a cause to celebrate. Against stiff competition this is the best album of her career.
on 30 September 2013
Crown Electric marks the welcome return of one of Britain's great songwriters. If you've never heard of Kathryn Williams, you're in for a treat. She's often critically acclaimed for her work (she was Mercury Prize nominated for her album Little Black Numbers). This latest collection of bittersweet, supremely melodic tracks finds her in superb form. From the opening track Underground, and all the way throughout, there is much to love. Listen out and you'll hear songs that remind you of the Beatles, Burt Bacharach, even Dido. Everything is measured, beautifully composed and recorded and lent with gorgeous vocals. This really is a great record and once you've heard it, you'll want to keep on playing it.
on 9 October 2013
I dithered between giving this 4 stars or 5. But,on the third play, I succumbed to the beauty of this album. Like all of Kathryn's music it rewards most fully when given total attention - as it received on it's third play. The later tracks are perhaps even better than the first few,with 'Sequins' a lovely standout.
Is it the best album of her career? It's the most mature. But the best? For me,the magnificent 'Old Low light' beats it. But,then again,that album beats almost everything in my collection. Perhaps after a dozen plays,'Crown Electric' will be up there with it.
I am,obviously a big fan of Kathryn's music. Which,considering that my first love is 70's soul and Motown,perhaps indicates just how impressed I am by her music. I really shouldn't be! But,the cream has to rise to the top,doesn't it?
The warmest voice since Brook Benton,to continue the soul theme. His Platinum collection - celebrating 60 years of Atlantic records - is possibly the best cd this century. But, I digress...
To finish, I can only pose the question "Why on earth is this woman not better known and appreciated?!"
'Crown Electric' should be in your collection. Along with at least 3 of her other albums.
on 1 October 2013
I very rarely write Amazon reviews, but this album is just lush. I have listened to it a couple of times on Spotify and had to buy a copy. Warm and witty with more accessible songs than I have heard from KW before. Do yourself a favour and buy a copy.
on 30 October 2013
This vastly under-rated artist delivers a quality album once again. In relation to an indespensible back catalogue Crown Electric is a worthy bed-fellow. A album of beauty and integrity. Kathryn Williams and Crown Electric cannot be recommended highly enough.
I'd been aware of folk singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams for a few years, but only became particularly interested in her music when I saw her perform as part of a charity concert in East Sussex in late 2012. Directly after that excellent performance, I bought a handful of her most highly rated and critically acclaimed albums and enjoyed them enough to buy her new album when it was released this year. After giving "Crown Electric", her tenth studio album, a few listens, I wasn't disappointed at all, although it does probably have more of a commercial feel to it than anything I've heard from her back catalogue. That's not necessarily a criticism and I'm mindful that I haven't heard everything that she has released, but one of the things I particularly like about Williams' material is her edge, which is a little more disguised on this release. If this is a conscious attempt to release something which will receive more radio play then I think it is likely to succeed, but it does sometimes walk a fine line between delicate, crafted, gentle arrangements and simply being a bit overly pretty and twee. That is my one and only negative opinion about this impressive, masterful collection of songs which many consider to be her best yet. I also believe it to be her finest album, but that is based on comparing it to four other releases, rather than her entire back catalogue.
The first absolutely brilliant track on "Crown Electric" (named after the place that Elvis Presley worked before hitting the big time) for me is "Count", a superb, richly melodic piece and "Monday Morning", which is also a very catchy, toe-tapping and enjoyable song. "Darkness Light" is a beautiful composition with a delicate vocal performance from Kathryn and a lovely arrangement for strings; it's one that I've played over and over again, although I'm not sure that the bit where she virtually shouts the word "shadows" really works. The gorgeous "Morning Twilight", co-written with Ed Harcourt, is a sublime performance of a beauteous composition and "Tequila" has an absolutely irresistible fragile melancholy. "Sequins", also co-written with Ed Harcourt, is my last pick of the album, the piano motif and general feel of the track reminding me a little of Costello & Bacharach's "Painted From Memory", albeit a little more understated. It's all very aurally picturesque, certainly very easy on the ear and is a beautifully recorded and performed piece of work. The strings, arranged by Ben Trigg, that adorn the album augment the songs well and the intelligent lyrics make you think more than most, in order to decipher their meaning. If this album packed full of enjoyable, accessible songs doesn't catapult her into the big time, then nothing else probably ever will.
on 22 November 2014
This is one of the best albums I've heard in years. It's given me the impetus to get back into music and play again for myself. Kathryn Williams is blessed with a heavenly voice and her guitar playing is sublime.
The album begins with Underground, which Kathryn wrote after having a panic attack inside King's Cross tube station. She crawled out on her hands and knees, sat at the top of the steps, with people stepping over her, pulled her pen and notepad out of her bag and penned this beautiful song, which perfectly describes the situation.
Gave It Away is dark and delightful, referencing stars who've left us, turning it into a sad love song.
Heart Shaped Stone is a perfect pop love song with silky strings underlying Williams' sonorous voice and guitar. Just fabulous with a fun Middle 8, before swirling on to the dreamy end.
Count begins with a slapped double bass and you can't help nodding your head from side to side as Kathryn talks about the desperation of trying to get things done without having the time to. At least that's what it sounds like to me! That leads on to Out Of Time which lazily drifts in and relaxes you. A carefree brass section is brilliant and you can imagine the joy of recording this song.
Monday Morning is the song that sums up how almost all of us feel at that time, you'll love this song! Funny, apt and sad, thinking of the futility of it all! An alluring piano chord introduces Darkness Light, which talks of personal failings and the onset of the black cloud of depression, made ok by the love of one who makes it all alright and making this a stunning love song, with so much personal depth and feeling put into it, I shuddered as the song reached it's end.
Picture Book starts with haunting strings, countered by a chirpy guitar, then blended with the most soulful voice you ever heard. You can hear Kathryn Williams putting everything of herself into these songs and this is bewitchingly elegant. The lyrics are stunning.
Morning Twilight is inspired by the painting of the same name by Charles Conder (1893), which is hanging in Liverpool's National Museum. Look for the painting online and lose yourself in it as you listen to this stunningly sorrowful and graceful song.
If you thought that this album couldn't get any better....you're wrong. Arwen is a song any folk star from anywhere and any time would be proud of. It's so delicate if a song could smash into pieces, then this is it. Tequila brightens everything up and then leads into Sequins. I can't describe this song. I have no words, other than to say I was in floods of tears by the time it finished. The album is rounded off by a the stirringly deep, The Known.
This album is a must. It's just so stunning and moving. You'll not be disappointed. It's as close to perfection as you can get!
on 27 October 2013
Heard Heart Shaped Stone on a couple of Radio 2 programmes and wanted to hear more from the album. Have got a couple of KW's other albums ( Little Black Numbers and Old Low Light), so knew she had talent!
This album has not disappointed. It hooks you. I find myself humming tracks such as Underground, Monday Morning, and Count although I think my favourite is Sequins. Wasn't sure about the Crown Electric track but like it more with each listen. I may have this album worn out soon as I am playing it so much.
As another review has mentioned, I can't understand why KW is not better known. Maybe this album will change that!
on 14 December 2013
Kathryn Williams voice is sweet and inviting for easy listening on a cold night.
I have seen her perform live and she engages with her audience(s) every time. She is. Multi instrumentalist and songwriter.
Having purchased a copy of each of her previous CD'S I can recommend this one.
on 3 October 2013
Crown Electric is just as it title says Electric ...the lyrics are beautifully written and the music wonderfully composed..overall production is fabulous. For me there is not one bad track on the album every song is a winner. Having been a fan Of KW since her Mercury nominated record "Little Black numbers."which is regarded by many in the music and audiophile industry as one of the finest records ever made, I can honestly say that Crown electric is her best yet and can't wait to see her live in Kinross