William The Conqueror “Excuse Me While I Vanish”

Chrysalis Records, 2023

Another great album as William The Conqueror continue to impress.

Following the imposition of lockdown restrictions, Ruarri Joseph found himself cocooned at home in Cornwall, ruminating on an uncertain creative future, watching on as his wife Mandy, a mental health social worker, engaged head-on with the dilemmas of the pandemic.  Her example motivated Joseph to become a temporary care worker, an experience which would provide renewed focus and influence the songwriting on the new album ‘Excuse Me While I Vanish.’

Seeing the effect the crisis had on his wife every day allowed Joseph to put his own musical struggles into perspective and avert his gaze from, in his own words, “navel-gazing with my head in the clouds.” 

If Covid and his close proximity to the frontline influenced his songwriting on this album fans of William The Conqueror should be reassured that the indie-rock sound remains as does Joseph’s unmistakable vocals. And, if that vocal is a constant then so too the crashing scuzz guitar and the support of Naomi Holmes on bass and Harry Harding on drums. Reviews on this website of the band’s debut in 2017 ‘Proud Disturber of The Peace’ declared the album a triumph and predicted great things to come.

Excuse Me While I Vanish’ is now album number 4 for WTC and the harder edge to Joseph’s work that was detected then continues aplenty. Joseph has a distinctive singing style, almost spoken at times, but, even on the quieter songs those crashing guitars are never far away, kicking in as the song builds. Brilliant opening track ‘The Puppet and Puppeteer’ is a huge hint at what is to come. A great riff, Joseph’s attention-grabbing mesmeric vocals and ear-splitting crescendos.

With the equally impressive ‘The Bruises’ to follow the album’s pattern has been set. Particularly impressive tracks are those with just a hint of something different thrown into the mix. ‘The Tether’ has a great guitar riff from the start and builds to something a little more subtle but no less memorable climax here. ‘L.W.Y.’ (Lost Without You) is the most subdued song on the album and perhaps for that reason stands out as a lovely melodic and meandering piece. Holmes harmonises beautifully with Joseph throughout the album but here in particular her backing brings a warmth and richness to one of the album’s highpoints.

The album is another demonstration of the songwriting skills of Ruarri Joseph as William The Conqueror go from strength to strength.

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About Peter Churchill 180 Articles
Lover of intelligent singer-songwriters; a little bit country; a little bit folk; a little bit Americana. Devotee of the 'small is beautiful' school of thought when it comes to music venues.
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