Trespassers William | Having (Nettwerk)

This is not the sound of air-lifting forest leaves, the glacial progress within the North Atlantic, of mountains moving over the lifespans of empires. Its logic follows the a temporal and deeply personal inner currents of desire circulating through a discursive mind.

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Time is out of joint; I don’t want to call Trespassers William’s new album Having dream-pop, but what choice do I have? Not as in “what dreams may come” petty projection of abstract desires; rather, it evokes dreams as disembodiment, dislocation, disregard for the limits of unilateral time. On “Weakening,” Anna-Lynne Williams hesitantly sings non sequiturs “time isn’t short anymore/moments that turn into worlds in your hands” over gauzy layers of reversed strings and plucked guitars. This isn’t music that exists in time. It evokes nothing in nature. This is not the sound of air-lifting forest leaves, the glacial progress within the North Atlantic, of mountains moving over the lifespans of empires. Its logic follows the a temporal and deeply personal inner currents of desire circulating through a discursive mind.

Producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev) captures the band’s suspended shoegaze perfectly, gathering Williams’ voice out of the ether, and rearranging the electronics and instruments behind her into an intricate backdrop of lush stutterings. The band sounds like a reformed Mazzy Star painting on Massive Attack’s canvas. The guitar and drums are always slightly skeletal—out of focus but essential.

The influence of Icelandic wunderkinds Sigur Rós runs deeply within much of the album, acting as a reference point for a new manner of emoting through a kind of aggressive ambience. In particular, “Safe, Sound” and closer “Matching Weight” owe much of their weight to the band. If Coldplay were at all tasteful, then super-ballad “Fix You” might sound something like “No One.” In the refrain, Williams sings, “All that matters is what can mend us,” but even she doesn’t sound convinced. It is this reserved poise that distinguishes Trespassers William: Emotion never becomes affect, abstraction never obscures content, elegies are not always sad.

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