hough Forever Blue takes its title from a track that didn’t make the cut, as a statement of intent it’s as frank and uncomplicated as Williams herself. Her debut full-length is a protracted exorcism of bitter memory, her cracked voice ringing over Spartan melodies and soaring post-rock pathos, all wonderfully understated and wracked with emotion.
Williams comes from the Lana Del Rey school of ‘strength through vulnerability’, her moan of “I never thought that I could hold on” ringing through “Dirt” with eerie clarity and its shift into a morose duet has a timeless quality that belies her relative inexperience. Were Forever Blue content to be an introspective, minimalist work it would still be outstanding but the sudden explosion of power in “Fearless”, replete with the guttural bellow of Johannes Persson (Cult Of Luna) delivers such a sharp punch that the album is dragged into a new light, one where pain and power can both be given expression and form.
As such, A.A. Williams never strives to make the listener feel comfortable – the rawness of these songs can, and should, elicit a twinge of sadness and regret from anyone who comes into contact with them, a challenging work that is nonetheless an absolute treasure.