Painting With Sound; Will Lawton & The Alchemists New EP

Perhaps you’ve noticed of recent, my overuse of the word “sublime?” I could apologise, and worry abusing a word lessens its clout, despite happening to like it, but I ask you humour me; I’m going to use it again today, in a thoroughly slamming-my-fist-on-the-desk-like-I-really-mean-it type way! Malmesbury’s purveyors of cool, Will Lawton & The Alchemists have an EP due for release on 3rd March, and yes, I’ll confirm now without thesaurus, it’s erm, sublime!

They’ve contributed to both our Julia’s House compilations and though I shouldn’t pick favourites…. ahem, and to note our roving reporter Andy has had the pleasure of fondly reviewing these guys live. I confess it remains on my to-do-list, but via Alchemy, this new three-track EP, I’ve knocked it up in priority to top of the list, above the heading.

Our given press release enlightens the EP’s title Alchemy “is a reference to the alchemical process of creativity with this EP being a fusing of Will’s masterful song-craft and the band’s dextrous flair for instrumental flourishes and lush, subtly evolving arrangements,” and I couldn’t put it better myself. Not for weird explosions in fogs of coloured smoke, but for the tentative and inventive melodious architecture, this is a Sagrada Família of sound.

 It opens with haunting piano and Will’s sonorously equable vocals. An eight-minute masterwork called Daughter, will invoke imaginings of the most memorable parental occasions, the unconditional love, as subtle drumbeats roll over this drifting euphoric sonic soundscape, akin to Pink Floyd’s finest hour.

Alchemic as in experimental, naturally, as the texture of drum timings fragment from piano for the second tune, then conjoin to a fix. The single pre-release out now, Black Bricks, rolls into something exceptional, an unsolidified musical edifice, overlapping layers and smooth vocals on social commentary of the ordinary, bad day. The discomforting, yet almost satirised theme perhaps makes this the standout tune, this is rich and creative genius.

Cast Iron is the final tune, cryptic and abstract, it evokes the quest to fulfil dreams and ambitions and the sense of powerlessness that emerges from this questing. The only downside is it ends, for this is incredibly morish, and leaves you dripping to dry, but quality above quantity is key, and again, this is as smooth as a well-oiled boob! We’re treated to Eastern promise through subtle tabla in the introduction to the finale, amidst these gorgeous established layers of electric guitar, rolling drumbeats, both male and female uplifting vocals, and simple beguiling keys. But what becomes in this song, as best example for the EP, is of no standalone individual element or instrument, rather the composition, for this is the musical equivalent to Da Vinci.

Seriously, Will’s profession as a music therapist means he has a high degree of self-awareness when it comes to the cathartic, healing power of creativity. Ergo, if art students are taught the eight pillars of composition are balance, contrast, focus, motion, pattern, proportion, unity and rhythm, the only images this EP will blissfully summon in your mind’s eye would be BA standard and you’d be exhibiting in the Louvre in no time! This is how to do it; this is painting with sound.

Will Lawton & The Alchemists have steadily built a solid live following with shows across the South West of England, and garnered support from Scala Radio, BBC Radio Wiltshire, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Radio Somerset, and BBC Introducing for the West. They recently supported Brit-pop legends Space to great acclaim.

The EP is produced by Patrick Phillips at Play Pen Studios, Bristol, mastered by Pete Maher at Top Floor Productions, and released via Supermarine Music. It will be supported with a tour, dates below.

Alchemy EP Tour Feb/March 2023

16th Feb: The Old Stables, Cricklade

25th Feb: The Pump, Trowbridge

27 Feb: The Prince Albert, Stroud

2nd March: The Railway Inn, Winchester

4th March:The Hop Inn, Swindon


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