by Philip Moss
Songs can often be born from a moment. A solitary event that spears enough emotion that the only way it can be released is onto the page, and combined with chords and melody. But the real special ones don’t just speak about that ‘one time’ – that moment – but about wider, relatable situations.
‘I tried to be lyrical, but lyrics failed me, so I gave up poetry,’ Ella O’ Connor Williams sang on I-80, the opening track on her debut album, I Was Born Swimming. But poetry isn’t needed here. More immediate, Hurt a Fly is a song conceived from an instance. Taking on the persona of manipulative lover, it is the outpouring of feelings to a circumstance that, even in occurring once, it is once too much. it doesn’t require any flowery language. And like the leap from early folk leanings that Sharon Van Etten made on Tramp, there is a growl to Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, White Flowers, Perfume Genius)’s production on this first taste from Planet (i): the percussion is throbbing and hate filled, the guitars are purposeful and mimic her lyrical tone, and the chorus digs in its teeth without having to lift an octave.
If her debut album’s title related to the symbolism of being carried and protected in the womb, Hurt a Fly is Williams ditching the arm bands, and coming out fighting – not just for herself, but for anyone who’s ever had to endure the injustice. Williams isn’t looking to ask questions here; she is making a statement.
Planet (i) is out on 25th June through Full Time Hobby.