Bleeding On The Soundtrack has a refreshingly brutal lyrical honesty, not surprising considering William The Conqueror’s second record deals with the chaos surrounding Ruarri Joseph’s life. While the first album dealt largely with growing up in rural Cornwall, this second album considers the confusion of adolescence, life as an addict, divorce, and upheaval. As Joseph notes, it deals with a time, “you’re always at a crossroad, constant junctions where you have to make decisions.”
While Bleeding On The Soundtrack deals with disillusionment, thanks to Ethan Johns’ production there’s an added brightness to the sound. Johns even adds slide work to ‘The Curse Of Friends’, a song that starts as a gentle folk track before the slide and Harry Harding’s drums take things to another level.
Playing against type, ‘Sensitive Side’ rocks like there’s no tomorrow with a boogie recalling ZZ Top. Instead of being about girls and guitars, it’s about those younger moments that now seem too embarrassingly real. The final track, ‘Within Your Spell’ slowly builds as life unravels to the sound of fiddles, “The coldest sun you’ve ever known its feeling promises will make things worse.”
Naomi Holmes loping bass hold things in check as Ruarri unloads ‘The Burden’, a gently bleak number, “and if the walls get closer, she will not be there to hold ya, I thought she would, who am I kidding?” Reality can be tough, but facing up to who we are and where we’ve been only makes us stronger. And the strength of William the Conqueror comes from their ability to examine life’s moments and come out on the other side, stronger and more aware.
Bleeding On The Soundtrack finds William The Conqueror being laid low by those moments at the crossroads, moments that can beat the best of us. Using style and wit, there are better days to come. But for right now, these moments are just fine.