MARLON WILLIAMS – ” River Rival “

Posted: September 25, 2022 in MUSIC

New Zealand singer/songwriter/guitarist Marlon Williams is released a new album, “My Boy”, on September 9th via Dead Oceans. On Wednesday, he shared its third single, “River Rival” via a video for the new song. Steve Gullick directed the video, which simply features a wet Williams singing the song in one close-up shot, no edits.

Williams had this to say about “River Rivals” in a press release: “This tune began with an idle Google search. The Latin noun ‘rivalis’ means people competing for the same source of water. That got me excited and seemed to hit upon a central occupation of the record as a whole. Resource scarcity, very generally construed, is at the heart of most conflict: economically, materially, socially. Musically, it started out as a bleary-eyed Nick Drake-esque acoustic rambler but somehow, perhaps counterintuitively, it felt too heavy that way so with a bit of fussing and redressing (largely in pre-production with Mark Perkins) it gradually morphed into the cyclical synth rock-roller before you. Under Tom Healy’s guiding hand, Cass (Basil) and Paul (Taylor) then built up the rhythmic intensity, each stanza pushing the point a little more urgently every time.”

Of the video he says: “I reconnected with my buddy and ‘Vampire Again’ collaborator Steve Gullick to make the video in a studio in Cambridge while on the recent tour with Lorde. I was so tired I couldn’t be bothered blinking.”

In May Williams shared the album’s title track (also its opening track), “My Boy,” via an amusing video. Then in June he shared the album’s second single, “Thinking of Nina,” a song inspired by the Cold War spy drama The Americans. It was shared via a film noir-esque video.

Williams opted not to record “My Boy” with his long-time backing band The Yarra Benders. Instead he demoed half the album with Mark ‘Merk’ Perkins. Then he worked with producer Tom Healy (Tiny Ruins, The Chills) at Neil Finn’s Roundhead studios in Auckland in late 2020. There he worked with LA-based drummer Paul Taylor (Feist), bassist Cass Basil (Ladyhawke, Tiny Ruins), and Healy on guitars and synths. There were also appearances from Delaney Davidson and Elroy Finn (on drums and percussion). Dave Kahn is the only member of The Yarra Benders to play on the album.

“Having new personalities in the room allowed me to escape myself,” said Williams in a previous press release. “When everyone’s still working out each other’s roles, there’s an unsettling and exciting tendency to go off in different directions…. It happened naturally. I was listening to more steely, New Romantic stuff, like Duran Duran, John Grant, Perfume Genius, the Bee Gees. All those things fed into the machine.”

Of the themes on “My Boy”, Williams said: “There’s a lot of male shapes on the record. Growing up an only child, I had to outsource my brothers and build a world around me. So while masculinity is a big theme, it’s really subsumed by broader explorations of vitality, and the social and cultural value placed on legacy.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.