The fourth album from Shetland singer-songwriter Astrid Williamson is launched next month.
Released on One Little Indian Records, Here Come the Vikings is the latest offering from Astrid, who had brief fame with the band Goya Dress in the 90s before releasing solo albums Boy For You, Astrid Williamson and Day of the Lone Wolf.
It has already generated some interest in the media with write ups and interviews on several music websites and a brief but positive mention in The Daily Telegraph.
Despite its name, the album is not obviously Shetland influenced, with little besides the title to suggest a link to the islands. This is perhaps not surprising given the singer-songwriter is now based in Brighton and it has been several years since her last performance here.
Similarly, while the album is a harder hitting example of Astrid’s efforts than her previous dreamy excursions, it perhaps doesn’t live up to the aggressive expectation of the title.
The 10 tracks are an emotive collection of tunes which range from the buoyant pop-edged rock of Sing the Body Electric and Shut Your Mouth to the darker and more haunting Pinned.
On first listen even the rockier tracks sounded subdued and felt like they were straining to break free from their over produced shackles. The more assertive backing doesn’t seem to suit the delicate vocal delivery and would have benefited from a performance with a bit more edge.
However, on the subsequent spins, safe in the knowledge that the album is not the Viking maraud I erroneously expected, it began to gel as a more up-front effort from the usually melancholic folk pop songstress.
The more sedately tempo-ed tracks somehow feel more comfortable with themselves and allow the vocals room to breathe.
Here Come The Vikings is sufficiently middle of the road to gain radio airtime and sell albums but it’s difficult to imagine the individual tracks troubling the charts. It is however a well produced and well-written piece of work that’s bound to keep Astrid’s fans happy.
The first single, Slake, is due to be released on Monday with the album following a week later on the 8th of June.Louise Thomason