The sounds, feeling, and overall style is what classifies specific types of music, making it easily identifiable from genre to genre. When multiple genres are combined to create something new, often the result is quite effective and refreshing. With William, Andromeda, the 19-year-old musician who refers to himself simply as Laurence has been able to transcend the normal barriers which define certain genres, often pulling from many niches to create something new and enjoyable all on its own. The album, which Laurence said he recorded entirely in bedrooms and living rooms across Australia, is a fruitful fusion of electronic, acoustic, and at times Americana elements that will transport listeners into a realm of serenity and reflection. The album’s opening track Andromeda allows for the listener to slowly cozy into the sound and feel of Laurence’s music, as a warmth of subdued electronic pulses and an acoustic guitar arpeggiating in the background, while the soft voices of Laurence and a female stem for a few bars sing subdued, longing melodies layered in reverb.
Orchard offers a brief respite from the rest of the album, as it is a bit more upbeat in nature, perhaps thanks in part to the constant up-strumming and picking being featured in the main banjo part, while some electronic pads and a soaring vocal line sweep around in the background.
With his third track The Floor, Laurence shows off his songwriting ability, while the true production quality of the entire album really has a chance to be accentuated here. The reflective opening piano theme loops while a delicate yet pronounced upper string voice quietly sneaks into the foreground while crescendoing into the main body of the song which continues on in the same subdued manner in guitar lines and reminiscent lyrics. Suddenly, voices chant in unison on beat four of just one measure, instantly causing the momentum of the track to pick up, like a clap of thunder signifies the start of a downpour of rain in a storm. The high string element remains throughout, tying the track together even as it features more eccentric elements like spoken voice parts and distorted guitars and flanged music effects.
Child has an innocent quality appropriate to the title. Laurence’s lyrics and voice are highly distorted, as if speaking through an old telephone, while his acoustic instruments (guitar, ukulele, drums) are mixed masterfully with the ever-sweeping electronic elements present throughout all tracks. This track might be the easiest to classify, as it has elements of both grunge rock and new-age electronica that are melded together quite nicely.
Upon first brash downbeat, the song Irma will have you wondering if your media player is suddenly skipping to random albums for no good reason, until about 0:24 when Laurence’s familiar reserved sound comes out of the woodwork. It is particularly interesting to hear the complex contrast Laurence is able to build between the beginning of the song and some of the simplest elements on the album - guitar and a human whistle - before building everything up together in one big sweeping climax as more spoken word and string parts are layered in. An electronic pulse very similar to the opening track (if not that same exact pulsating sample) adds a cohesiveness and sense of return that has yet to surface in the album.
April 28th continues in similar fashion to the rest of the album, featuring familiar keys, sounds, and overall melodies that are echoed by small electronic elements and pads that offer minor intricacies to otherwise simple melodies and chord progressions. April 28th allows for Laurence’s tenor-baritone voice to come across nicely as drums and percussion elements slowly build around him in the background.
The human whistle is brought back and utilized in a beautifully reserved way to open the track Wire Drunk. The mix of guitar, vocals, harmonica and a brushed drum kit add a jazzy, bluesy, almost Americana feel to the song. The feeling is echoed through to the next track Omaha which opens with a ukulele playing softly in the background, as Laurence’s voice suddenly comes through clearer than anywhere else in the album up to this point.
William, Andromeda comes to a brilliant close with Take Heart, My Lungs in climactic fashion. Like a skilled chef might tie an entire meal together with the use of a single ingredient used in each dish, Laurence brings back the now-familiar pulsating electronic sample which is heard clearly in Andromeda and Irma. This third iteration is propelled forward by a single snare drum accelerating the tempo consistently, while at the same time mixing in an inspiring piano line which culminates into a beautifully uplifting piece of music, and a feeling of completeness and having come full circle.
William, Andromeda is an emotional journey to say the least, one which provokes deep thought and self-reflection. An astounding accomplishment for anyone; but especially for a 19-year-old folk/electronic artist who produced the entire album in bedrooms and living rooms. While raw at times, the effect achieved throughout this album is pure, clear, and true. Laurence is able to find a beautiful balance between minimalism and detail, and the ultimate result will have listeners everywhere wondering what to expect if a sophomore album were to be released. Hopefully for us all, the answer to that question will be answered sooner rather than later.