by Kris Handel (@khandel84)
On Where Does the Time Come From, the third full length from English band Sweet Williams, Thomas House primarily forgoes his elongated blues-y dirges of previous releases, for a tighter almost claustrophobic feel. House still uses his space wisely with well placed guitar lines knifing through pounding drums and insistent throbbing bass, but there’s a little more depth here in the instrumentation. Sweet Williams’ music has always been intense and carried a heaviness that hung on every note, but on this release there’s a sense of menace even in its quietest moments. House has, in a sense, left behind the hushedness musically but also his vocals have a bit more body and confidence which doesn’t lessen the power any magnitude and adds another dimension to the attack.
“Stop It I’m Killing You” announces the record forcefully with a persistent and pounding rhythm section as House’s guitar swerves, hum and buzzes its way through causing a bit of an echo effect that never relents. The track pounds away in a glorious fashion as House creates a swirling and measured atmosphere that does so much with repetition and persistence. “Fifties” has House slowing tempo down adding an extra dose of tension, heightened by the instrumental pauses and drum fills that creep in and around the gloom. House hisses out his vocals which add another level of foreboding and grime that is hard to escape yet are perfectly at peace with the tone and demeanor laid beneath them.
House has not entirely eschewed the slow loping blues-y aesthetic as proven with “Very Long Division” where everything stretches out and works through ringing every ounce of a note or rhythmic pattern. The bass work here drives everything throughout as it slides and drives around clipped cymbals and snare drum rolls, as House muses slightly buried underneath everything. “Ride a Gold Snail” propels itself through knifing guitar that gives way to a crash of distortion and overdrive that flows out of the speakers in a wave that hits all at once. House’s vocals come to the fore here and provide a new layer whether they are being spat out with a bit of force or being used to stretch out and push the atmosphere into a new form or direction.
Sweet Williams have made a record that drives everything with a purpose and uses repetition to great effect yet never strays into rigidity or routine. There’s a curiosity in everything presented here, yet one that always carries a sense of trepidation and weariness of what may be to come. There’s a darkness and isolation here that manages to avoid ever becoming bogged down by it, however it remains inescapable in a way that is chill inducing. This record does not shy away from pounding at and confronting obstacles or fears while accepting that work needs to be done to move beyond them in any way possible. Where Does The Time Come From is a bit imposing in it’s approach, but it’s also a record that deserves every listen that is to come it’s way, it’s a bit of a force to be reckoned with yet worth any effort and amount of time to do so.