Here comes the break-up album. It’s a tried and true fallback for a million songwriters out there but only a small percentage really nail the heartache, despair, fallout and renewal that comes from a fractured relationship. Marlon Williams has taken an approach that doesn’t shy away from the bruises and open wounds, instead he presents it all in a baroque, sensitive and dark and starkly romantic form, detailing and reflecting on his breakup with Aldous Harding.
“What am I going to do when you’re in trouble and you don’t call out for me?” sings Williams on the single ‘Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore’ and it sums up those post-dissolution feelings, that ‘can’t live with you’/’can’t live without you’ conundrum. He finds great poetry in those moments and observations. ‘Make Way For Love’ is an infinitely more personal and intimate album than his debut. The mood and production is relaxed, warm and lush, showcasing Williams’ diverse vocal range, both in intensity and tone. There is less stylistic variety than his debut album had, making it a more singular and complete-sounding record. Here the reference points are Beck (circa ‘Sea Change’), Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker and even Nick Cave, with less of a folk and country focus.
Make Way For Love is a heavy album at times but it leaves you with a feeling of stepping out of the darkness and into the light, optimism replacing despair and with the desire to explore the mysteries of love still tantalisingly intact.