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William Fitzsimmons – Gold In The Shadow

William Fitzsimmons, Gold In The Shadow

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

SOMETIMES it’s the simplest things that prove the most pleasurable. Take William Fitzsimmons’ Gold In The Shadow as a prime example… armed with an acoustic guitar, a soft voice and [on occasion] a serene female backing vocalist, he creates songs of serene beauty and effortless grace.

A comeback album of sorts following the downbeat The Sparrow And The Crow (which was written as a personal apology to his ex-wife in 2008), it is a more optimistic journey that springs as much from personal experience as it does external perspective.

Hence, Fitzsimmons now extends his song-writing reach to the lives and psychological struggles of those around him in addition to his own, drawing on the decisions and experiences that have shaped him as both a successful recording artist (whose material has made it to US TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill) as well as a counsellor and expert in mental health.

The songs here are folk orientated and reminiscent of contemporaries such as Joshua Radin and Jose Gonzalez. They’re simple in construction, often softly delivered, but nearly always enchanting.

Opening track, The Tide Pulls From The Moon, for instance, draws on a slow-burning approach that unfolds into a track of immense beauty. A striking guitar riff ushers you in, before Fitzsimmons disarms you with his soft vocal, and slowly layers in the elements (including a sublime female vocal over the chorus from Julia Stone.

Beautiful Girl, meanwhile, enchants by virtue of its lovely lyrics, simple acoustic plucking, piano chords and warm vocals. It’s quietly mesmerising.
The Winter From Her Leaving, meanwhile, combines subtle tambourine percussion with a breezy acoustic guitar in a manner not dissimilar to Simple Times era Joshua Radin.

But in truth, Fitzsimmons doesn’t really put a foot wrong. His songs on this album mostly build from the same kind of platform… but there’s an easy accessibility and effortless appeal to them that’s born from both the striking honesty of his lyrics and the catchiness of his melodies.

Of the other highlights, it’s hard to really pick them out because of the overall quality. But the organs and subtle beat arrangements of Psychasthenia (coupled with the return of Stone) provide another, as does the Leigh Nash featuring duet of Let You Break… a really fine example of two voices perfectly complimenting each other, with the lyrics to match. It’s romantic optimism, too, is heart-warming.

Wounded Head is another favourite… again simply constructed, but beautifully layered instrumentally, while Tied To Me is a bittersweet gem that, again, starts off from something so simple and subtly layers in the instrumentals without ever detracting from the emotional content of the lyrics.

And What Hold draws the album to a serene, impossibly calming close with another expertly woven appearance from Stone.

Trust us, you can’t fail to be impressed with Fitzsimmons’ stunning return.

Download picks: The Tide Pulls From The Moon, Beautiful Girl, Psychasthenia, Let You Break, Tied To Me

Track listing:

  1. The Tide Pulls From The Moon
  2. Beautiful Girl
  3. The Winter From Her Leaving
  4. Fade And Then Return
  5. Psychasthenia
  6. Bird of Winter Prey
  7. Let You Break
  8. Wounded Head
  9. Tied To Me
  10. What Hold