WILL VARLEY – Kingsdown Sundown (Extra Mile Recordings XMR124CD)

kingsdown sundownIf the time was ever ripe for a few protest songs it is now and Will Varley duly obliges on Kingsdown Sundown, his fourth full-length album. It isn’t all protest, however, and it certainly isn’t packed with political rantings. The songs are deep and thoughtful but when Will decides to tell it like it is he doesn’t hold back.

Musically it is deceptively simple, mostly just voice and acoustic guitar with some violin from Matt Tighe, percussion by Stewart Hughes and minimal electric guitar from producer Dave Hatton Jr. Two songs stand out immediately. The first is ‘To Build A Wall’ and I’m sure we all know what prompted that – “there’s many ways to build a wall” he sings. The second is the key track for me, ‘We Want Our Planet Back’. It says everything I want to scream at the world.

This may cause some controversy but there is so much of the young Bob Dylan in Will’s music. His voice isn’t “pretty” in the conventional sense and he sings in that lazy way that makes you think that his words are being sung straight from his head for the first time. It is supreme artistry that sounds like anything but artistry. Then there is the way he constructs his melodies, puts rhymes together and creates images. Take ‘One Last Look At The View’. It comes over as a song of the wilderness, a bit US road movie, until the line about a Premier Inn on the M25. ‘Something Is Breaking’ is really bleak in the same way that ‘Hard Rain’ is and ‘When She Wakes Up’ blends a love song with more of Will’s apocalyptic visions – “the revolution that you’ve been waiting for happened without you some years ago” is a chilling thought.

Kingsdown Sundown isn’t an easy album but it is so, so powerful, perfectly constructed to make the listener think hard about the world and our place in it.

Dai Jeffries

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Artist’s website: www.willvarley.com

‘To Build A Wall’ – official video:

Will Varley announces new album – November release

will varley

Will Varley has reached an unstoppable velocity since signing with Xtra Mile Recordings in 2015 and shows no signs of slowing down as we announce fourth album Kingsdown Sundown out 4th November 2016.

With the follow-up to the stellar Postcards From Ursa Minor, an album that propelled Will into unexplored territory, return tours with The Proclaimers and unbelievable summer festival sets, he continues to build upon broken spirits with this set of almost unbearably raw songs. First track to be lifted from the album is ‘To Build A Wall’ – an unnervingly timely indictment of simplistic solutions to incredible complex problems on both sides of the pond.

Recorded underneath a pub by the sea in Deal, Kent as the waves roared outside, Kingsdown Sundown is a bleak and uncompromising critique of the human condition, journeying deep into our dreams, faults, regrets and politics. The songs are more visceral and uneasy than before, with fights in KFC descending into world wars, the all too real plight of refugees and the recent rise in hate crime. A collection of folk songs written over the course of the last year while travelling and touring – written on tour buses and trains, scribbled on the back of set lists and receipts – Will says “these are the most honest songs I’ve ever written and they represent new ground for me creatively. They may not be radio-friendly, or even “friendly” at all, but I’ve been wanting to make a record like this for a long time.”

The rest of the album is hazier, more spectral and a phantom of memories, dreams, and hopes. If there’s one song that haunts as much as it heals and warms the soul, it’s ‘Let Your Guard Down’ which sounds like it was sung deeply into the howling wind in defiance, in hope and fear. The most directly political song ‘We Want Our Planet Back’ feels strongly enough to strap on an electric guitar and strum over Will’s patient protest, but it indirectly lends its brooding power to ‘Too Late Too Soon’ which seems ready to crumple and break, a sandcastle made of a simmering mood. ‘Back To Hell’ could have come from any period in superstitious folk history, a tale of vague menace, mysticism and the underworld. Finally,  ‘We’ll Keep Making Plans’ threatens to build to a crescendo, but instead lets us drift out into a mental sea where the sun is setting on what we knew in favour of the unknown, resolving to carry on, continuing to build our futures on shakier foundations. It’s somehow not dispiriting; it’s more driven by determination to allow sadness not to rule our lives, but be an important part of it.

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


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Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.willvarley.com/

‘To Build A Wall’ – official video: