‘Petals for Armor II’ by Hayley Williams [EP Review]

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Even if we’re all locked inside our homes there is still some amazing music coming out to help us cope.

It’s been rough for everyone but as someone who has some mental health issues linked to feeling isolated and lack of social interaction, I find my thoughts turning to people who aren’t staying with their family like I am–or are and don’t have the best relationship with their family.

There are plenty of songs and musicians which talk about mental health as people become more comfortable discussing it but I rarely find music which is able to capture the feelings which come with depression, anxiety, dissociation, etc.

You can say you feel depressed–and many do without them actually experiencing it at the time–but capturing the tone is a far more difficult task.

And Williams has a way of doing that which makes her music captivating and intimate.

Finding a Sound for Depression

One of the things I found interesting about first hearing this album is that it starts with a recording of Williams in which she talks about being in a depression.

As someone who has gone through depression more times then I can count, I definitely understood what it feels like to ignore the outside world because of it. And had to make apologies once I returned from my gloom and wanted to see people again.

So let’s start with the opening track Dead Horse. There’s a very bouncey bass line here which definitely has more movement to it than later tracks. The overall vibe reminds me a lot of Cinnamon from the last EP. It’s almost like the song is trying to be happier than it really is as it talks about not being able to move on from a relationship.

It’s a very catchy song which plays into the lyrics where Williams talks about singing along “to a silly little song”. Like, she knows that she shouldn’t still be thinking about this relationship let alone singing about it but that’s the thing about painful experiences–you can’t just stop feeling hurt. It’s a feeling I think any people can relate to.

Sound as a Texile

I was watching an interview with Williams from GoRadioMN where she talks about how she would vocalize something and the rest of the sound of the song would be built around it, and how that makes the album feel more earthy.

While I don’t know if “earthy” is the word I would use, I definitely feel like, even with all the synths, this album feels very intimate–and part of that stems from Williams keeping her vocals at the centre of it.

Alright so I’m going to out myself as a bit of an acapella nerd right here. There’s just something really beautiful about layers of vocals coming together. It’s something that I really liked about Simmer because the vocals were almost like a heartbeat and this is something that Williams has pulled through to the rest of the releases.

From the Outside to the Mind

I said in my review of Petals for Armor I that it felt like there was a distinct turning point from the anger towards the outer world–and people–to a more internal, self-aware subject matter. I’m happy to see that this theme has continued into this next release.

I think this really hits home with Over Yet which I talked about in my review. There’s something about the pleading nature of its lyrics which reminds me of what it feels like to just want to be fine again.

Which I think gets to the heart for why this EP felt a little flat. I will except that there was intention to this but it doesn’t change the fact that this one seemed far more melancholy than the last. There was a bite to part one which created this forward momentum to the album as a whole. This one feels more like a downward spiral into one’s own thoughts and feelings.

I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for this in music–far from it. However, it does end on a sad note, leaving the listener with that melancholy. At least with the previous release I felt like there was some kind of progression whereas this feels more like a step back.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There are some moments in the EP that I really like but I also can’t help but compare it to the first part which I thought had more going for it. It’s not that there was anything I didn’t like in this album either but I found it a little underwhelming. Over Yet is still a bop though and I will continue to dance along to it.

I think the hype also has to be taken into how I feel about this EP compared to the last one. Before, I had no idea what sound Williams would come out with so I was very excited for each new release. Now that I have a better idea some of that luster has worn off.

I’m a little bit calmer about this album being released though since we’ve already heard ten songs from it. There can’t be much of an album left if any which seems like an odd choice but hey, either way we get music from Williams which is okay by me.

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