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Hayley Williams Petals For Armor

Petals For Armor

Three years ago Paramore released After Laughter, a synth-pop masterclass with downcast lyrics and buoyant instrumentals developing the sound the band established with their 2013 self-titled album. When lead singer Hayley Williams announced her debut solo record Petals For Armor earlier this year, fans expected another eighties-inspired LP. Originally released as three separate EPs, the album does bear more than a few similarities to her band's last two efforts. Williams maintains the familiar electro-pop motif, while incorporating acoustic sounds in some songs.

It isn't an easy listen for those who prefer fluid records

Opening track 'Simmer' is one of the more acoustic efforts. It sounds more Fleetwood Mac than Depeche Mode, exhibiting Williams' vocals and lyricism. It discusses similar themes to After Laughter, but in a far darker way. 'Sudden Desire' builds on this bleak trope, but emotional rawness is not new for Williams, who has been writing songs for over 15 years. Yet as a solo effort, the track feels more vulnerable than those in Paramore's discography. Ultimately this new-found fragility is not to Williams' detriment - if anything, it gives her a closer bond to fans.

The album does have one flaw. The distinction between the three EPs, when listened to as one, may be too harsh for some. It isn't an easy listen for those who prefer fluid records. Each of the three records has a noticeably different identity, which at times fragments the album. But in the end, Petals For Armor is still an exciting debut solo effort.

Sarah Bennett

by Now Then Sheffield