Devon Williams "A Tear In The Fabric" LP
Over three albums under his own name, Devon Williams has honed a trademark blend of shining power pop, folk rock, and jangle pop that explores the shared spaces and nuances of each, anchored by his distinctive melodic gifts.
After an uncharacteristic six-year break, he returns with "A Tear In The Fabric": 12 lushly arranged, deeply felt songs chronicling a journey from confusion to clarity, driven by a lilting dreaminess, rock-solid songcraft, and unerring hooks. It's a stunning step forward from 2008's "Carefree," 2011's "Euphoria," and 2014's "Gilding the Lily" — a tightrope-walk between reality and fantasy rendered in vividly impressionistic color.
The long six years between "Gilding the Lily" and "A Tear In The Fabric" were defined by a series of changes: most notably, the birth of Williams' daughter four years ago and the illness and eventual death of his father in 2019. Forced to confront head-on the implications of these jarring shifts to his reality, Williams began considering his priorities and purpose — and grappling with who he was and wanted to be — in his gestating songs.
Williams found himself engaged in an endless dialogue with his thoughts — and, in turn, continuously tweaking and prodding the material. Even mixing became a place to labor over details, turning into a two-year process. "The back and forth with Dave Carswell [best known for his work with Destroyer] was rough," Williams admits. Perhaps it was only natural: irrevocable change had created the tears in the fabric of his day-to-day life that give the album its title.
Sometimes the material grounded him in domesticity and routine; other times, they helped him escape from daily drudgery. As he sings on "In Babylon," "It's hard to trust the imaginary / Second guessing a dream / You don't know what you are anymore / Is there a perfect world in the normal life?"
The finished songs are a series of evocative snapshots for Williams — six years-worth of places and conflicted feelings: questions asked, answers given, compromises reached, as captured with startling lucidity as on "Domesticated": "I'm under your skin, is this the price of forever? I don't mind if you just do what you like / I find it hard to re-adjust this tug of war / Is it part of the role? / Well, if it is, I can play."
Rarely have songs so personal sounded so luxurious. In a catalog full of pop gems, "A Tear In The Fabric" stands out for its completeness — individual worlds of sound and sentiment, timeless and transcending their origins. Its creation may have been laborious, but the final product feels as natural as breathing.