From the less-than-amicable departure of long-term bassist Jeremy Davis, to Williams’ separation from New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert (poignantly referred to as “that fucker of a man” in her first musical offering), any thoughts of Paramore’s 6th album seemed well and truly shelved. Thankfully, instead of sinking into a period of musical hiatus, Williams was able to alchemise these painful life experiences into her refreshingly transparent debut solo effort; Petals For Armor.
While the Paramore name may have been temporarily benched, Williams’ debut solo effort is very much a collaborative affair. Petals For Armor I’s conception, production and songwriting sees Williams joined by Paramore lead-guitarist Taylor York and touring-bassist Joey Howard.
Williams recently cited a vast array of musical influences; each essential in the sculpting of the album’s sonic direction. Nowhere is this clearer in Petals For Armor I than the notedly understated “Leave It Alone”; a percussion and bass-led ensemble who’s muted guitar riffs and haunting string interjections call upon Radiohead’s Paranoid Android in the best possible way, while lead single “Simmer” sets the scene with a brooding bop that threatens to boil over at any moment. The EP’s closing track “Sudden Desire” showcases Williams’ impeccable ability to use her powerful vocals sparingly and for effect.
For a body of work that centres around themes of loneliness, separation and betrayal, Williams has seemingly never been more confident in the message she’s delivering. The 5 track EP is fizzing with a visceral sense of anger and resentment.
With Paramore’s future cemented in a recent interview and 2 more EPs yet to release, one thing remains clear - Hayley Williams isn’t lonely babe, she’s free.