William The Conqueror, Bleeding On The Soundtrack - album review

Listening to music and finding something you like can be so difficult at times.

The album cover
The album cover

There's stuff you immediately fall in love with, that's easy. You remember where you were the first time you heard it.

There's the stuff you hate and then actively seek to avoid.

And then there's records like this. You can't seem to make head nor tail of it. Is it me? Am I stupid? Do I just not fit in?

William The Conqueror have released this, their second record, this weekend. It's not overly offensive, it doesn't get much wrong. it just doesn't really...do much at all. it plods.

Ten tracks in length, it feels like it could have been four or five shorter and a nice little EP to play at the end of a night out while you prepare for bed. Instead it feels conflated and bloated, with very little to justify its length.

William The Conqueror

Oozing Americana, it carries Ruarri Joseph's soft vocals - a tender blend of Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill, The Hold Steady's Craig Finn and Rob Goodwin of The Slow Show.

It swings from side to side, meandering slowly like a great river flowing through its vast bed. The plonking bass and slender guitar work seem cumbersome at times outside of the main singles, and the blood is rarely stirred.

The singles do prove the exception to the rule for the most part.

Looking For The Cure with its happy-go-lucky melodies is much livelier than a lot else here. It thumps like an Eels track, jangling guitars dancing sleekly across the top as Joseph narrates with softly spoken assuredness.

While holding strong in the realms of that meandering snake, the title track does have a bit more gravitas with its feedback-heavy guitars and off-kilter vocals that add a level of interest to what would otherwise be yet another slow romp.

Yet a lot is like the solid yet unspectacular The Curse Of Friends. Overlong and past its shelf life before its end, it has that bloated feeling mentioned earlier, layers of sound not really adding much to each other.

It's a shame. Strip it all back and we could have had a raw and emotive EP rather than the unnecessarily convoluted LP this is.

Rating: 4/10

William The Conqueror play at Birmingham's Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath on May 23

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