Marlon Williams: Make Way for Love review – brilliant tunes for broken hearts

Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 05:00


Make Way For Love

Marlon Williams

Dead Oceans

Singer / Songwriter

The cover image is monochrome, bleached of colour and craic. Set off to the left, eyes seemingly welling with tears, an anguished Marlon Williams stares sadly into the camera.

This sleeve tells a story and the much-touted Kiwi singer-songwriter, on his second solo set, enlarges on it as he works his way through the debris of a failed relationship, trying to find solace and sense in the retelling of his story. Heavy stuff – pour me a stiff drink and turn out the lights please.

Yet what saves this album from the banality of gushing emotion and draws you back each time is the marriage of stylistic head and vulnerable heart. Perhaps it is the references to the dramatic 1960s pop of Orbison and Pitney, all echo and anguish, the tremelo arm of the guitars working overtime, oohs and aahs swelling the mood.

Or maybe it is the instinctive discipline of his pure choirboy voice bending to the cry of the moment.

More likely it is a combination of these elements and more, as on the irresistible What’s Chasing You, the slow-burning I Didn’t Make a Plan and the reassuring resilience of the title track. Risky but rewarding.