When I received Willowen’s new album, I was astonished by the album artwork. Three pale people stripped to their underwear, striking biblical poses whilst being doused with water. This is a brave display for a debut album, when first impressions are so important. But it does prove that Willowen are fearless, doing things their own unique Willowen way.
The Album starts with a familiar acoustic folk style intro, which soon gets an injection of chilled-out pop when Jonny Phillips starts singing. Jonny has a delicate vocal delivery with a soft tone, this adds a unique dynamic to Willowen’s sound. It forces the exuberant violin playing of Jasmine Watkins to become a driving force in the arrangement of many songs. An example of this can be heard on the 5th track titled ‘My Life’s Mine’. Jasmine decorates every second of this song with her violin, she plays the hook, she accompanies the vocal and she delivers an explosive instrumental. This is not limited to this one song, it’s a constant theme throughout this album. An unexpected surprise on the album is the inclusion of a bass guitar. I have only heard Willowen perform as a three piece band (violin, guitar & cajon). The inclusion of bass has given Willowen a fuller sound.
This album has an engaging innocence, which is a result of Willowen’s light hearted song writing. Songs like ‘Monster’ and ‘Hippie Vampire’ have amusing lyrics, other songs like ‘Pink Sky’ and ‘Night Garden’ have happy/romantic lyrics. These playful songs make the third track ‘Right For Her’ stand out as a much darker song. The lyrics describe the joyless life of an average woman down on her luck. To Include a song of misfortune on an otherwise cheery album proves that Willowen are diverse and unpredictable, which makes both their album and live performances a real joy.
Watch our video below to hear what Jonny & Jasmine have to say about their album.
Please visit Willowen's website