Review: Hayley Williams - Petals for Armour

Sam Nichol reviews Hayley Willliams' solo project.

Sam Nichol
26th February 2020
Following the release of 2017’s After Laughter, Paramore’s turbulent past looked to be mirrored by an equally uncertain future.

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.

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