William The Conqueror - 'Bleeding On The Soundtrack'

7/10

When William The Conqueror released their debut studio album 'Proud Disturber of the Peace' back in 2017, we were told that it would be the first of three autobiographical records that relived the life and times of frontman Ruarri Joseph. Mixing subtle songwriting with a flare for the dramatic, the trio's first effort told the life of the young singer and his rural upbringing in Cornwall. Now returning with the second of these themed releases, 'Bleeding On The Soundtrack' brings the clock forward to his adolescent stage and the turbulence that addiction, divorce and upheaval brought to that part of his life.

Yet despite this area of his world clearly being a harder nut to crack, Joseph manages to bring a mixture of hope, humour, sorrow, and honesty to his songwriting, delivering a far more upbeat release than it appears on paper. Merging together a diverse array of influences and directions from folk, grunge and good old-fashioned indie-rock, William The Conqueror have turned the tables of the self-referential record by transforming stories of hardship and uncertainty into fond memories that have all led them to this point in their lives, and imagining them into something more than a one-dimensional anecdote.

The idea of writing three studio albums in this way seems self-indulgent and ambitious to say the least, but the group have managed to remove almost all sense of pretence from its stories to create a lively and fun collection that never seems like it is trying to lecture the listener. An eclectic and exciting release that shows good promise for how this trilogy will end.

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