Hayley Williams - 'Petals For Armor'

9/10

In a lot of ways, a solo album from Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams has always going to be on the cards at some point. Having spent the last decade cropping up across a wide range of other artist's releases, it was clear that she had ambitions beyond the reach of her formative outfit. And while the band's 2017 LP 'After Laughter' gave us a glimpse of her mindset surrounding progressive ideas, it has been her personal life that was the proven catalyst behind this new collection as she ponders life, loss and reinvention on her debut solo full-length 'Petals For Armor'.

Despite spending the majority of her time in the limelight in a relationship with New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert, the couple were married for little more than a year before divorcing in 2017. And it was the subsequent depression and unwanted thoughts that became the building blocks of this new release. From the start, 'Petals For Armor' sees Williams in a completely unknown guise from her usual output, regularly experimenting with production and creating an album that feels totally apart from anything we would have expected. And while its subject matter looks to focus around the fragility of the human spirit, it has this hardened core of musical prowess that just keeps powering through no matter what.

For all the glossy pop-rock and commercially angled material she has attached herself to over the years, it is remarkable to hear Hayley Williams show us more of her own personal feelings and deliver something so utterly spellbinding from start to finish. 'Petals For Armor' may have started as a way for her to escape her personal demons, but the final product is probably her most accomplished work to date.

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