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Gilding the Lily

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iTunes Review

There’s a pervasive nostalgia to Devon Williams’ Gilding the Lily, heard both in its yearning lyrical content and its fusion of pop styles from the past. But if this L.A.-based singer/songwriter can’t resist looking backward, he’s likewise making strides forward artistically on his third solo release. Aided by producer Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Violens), Williams delivers his most self-revealing songs to date here, using multilayered arrangements to reveal rather than disguise their confessional content. The influence of ‘80s postpunk groups (especially The Teardrops Explodes and Echo & The Bunnymen) is evident in the heavily treated guitars and melancholy melodies of “Flowers,” “Pendulum,” “Puzzle," and similar tracks. At times—particularly on “Around in a Maze”—Williams sounds like John Lennon or Graham Nash at their most painfully sincere. Scaling back the overdubs and relying on acoustic sounds, he delivers “All I Have to Do” and “Lost My Concentration” with disarming vulnerability. Williams often seems ambivalent about love and his place in the world, but the music he uses to convey his emotions is impressively focused and consistently engaging.


Born: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Devon Williams has enjoyed an electric career spanning multiple bands since the late '90s. He first gained prominence with punk-pop trio Osker, who formed in 1998 when Williams was a sophomore in high school, and signed to Epitaph two years later, where the band released two records. By 2002, Osker had run its course and Williams moved on to alt-folk outfit Fingers Cut Megamachine, which earned comparisons to Bright Eyes and Iron & Wine and released two LPs and...
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Gilding the Lily, Devon Williams
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