Expectations for Siobhan Wilson’s new album The Departure were raised considerably based on the success of There Are No Saints. As a nominee for Scotland’s Album of the year it would not have been surprising to feel a bit of pressure. Rather than being daunted by the task, she followed her own path, crowd funding the production to achieve more control over the creative process.
The results are breathtaking. Coming out of a quietly enveloping mist, ‘The Departure’ doesn’t so much open the album as it does begin a journey. The song builds with a piano coming in to take over from the twinkling bells and synth, all the while Wilson’s gauzy multi-tracked vocals establish a gentle beauty pervading this musical collection.
Much has been made of the fuzzy electric guitar on ‘Marry You’. Don’t believe it. It has fuzz and it is electric, but Siobhan’s voice is the real story as she takes on the expectations of romantic futures, telling singing, “If indecision is your decision, I do not need your permission.” ‘Unconquerable’ may be the biggest surprise, driven on by a bass riff and lead vocals from Siobhan and Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale. They question the expectations that are put on women, “are we forever to tread the line between being human and being divine?”
While ‘All Dressed Up Tonight (Better Than I Ever Did With You)’ wants to be hard and harsh Wilson’s vocals sweeten lines and undercut some of the sting in “if I was your girl, I would set myself free.” The gentle opening of Little Hawk is quickly blown away by an ominous tone that continues to build as the track gets louder and rougher as Wilson declares, “I burst out ’cause I’m wilder and richer than you had foreseen.”
The Departure doesn’t fit into a particular mould. Rather, Siobhan Wilson has created something totally her own, an album that crosses over the traditional lines, proving that there are no constraints to tie you down if you refuse to acknowledge them.