Siobhan Wilson was long-listed for 2018’s Scottish Album of the Year award for her last album There Are No Saints, which she then toured, whilst studying for a masters degree, whilst writing this album, whilst building the fan crowdfunding for this album. The pressure must have been immense. Thankfully, Wilson’s talent is too.
Her latest album The Departure is expansive. It dips into broad themes about fragility and strength with finger-on-the-pulse insights into toxic masculinity. In a moment the album switches from dark, bassy tones to breath-taking quiet. Wilson even manages the time to change language.
Marry You, the album’s first single, showcases almost grungy guitars, wonderfully complemented by Wilson’s voice and lyrics. On April her voice blossoms as she sets out her own manifesto of self-worth: “Be a mother if you want, find another if you want”. Life is yours for the taking and the making, and nobody needs to be defined by anyone else.
Putting Ne Dis Rien as the fourth track is a typically bold move – the syncopated percussion, the jangly guitars, the fact it’s sung in French. The following tracks continue the theme of independence, of striking out on your own. There is a fantastic sense of personal liberation on this album, although occasionally hidden behind the quiet delivery.
The sourcing of different inspirations and subjects is best evidenced in the vocal collaboration with Honeyblood: Unconquerable. The lyrics lap over each other, whispering frantically yet always beautifully. The guitar never stops thumping along as they desperately seek out some truth, some meaning, some divine answers. Little Hawk showcases a richer, wilder and more angry sound before Stars Are Nonzero sedates the listener with a twinkling guitar and breath-taking quiet.
And when your album is this good, why not throw in another whole song in French just to show off your talent? Dis, Quand Reviendras – Tu? (that’s “Tell me, when will you come back?” for my fellow monolinguals) is a typically beautiful ode that rounds off the album with heartache, colour and longing. Longing not just for things to return, but longing to continue. And long may Wilson continue producing music of so high a standard.