Since the release of ‘Postcards from Ursa Minor’ last year, Will Varley’s status has grown through touring stints with Frank Turner and Billy Bragg and memorable outings at festivals such as 2000 Trees. Although he’s mostly known for his upbeat satirical numbers (‘I Got This Email’ and ‘Talking Cat Blues’), Varley’s latest outing, ‘Kingsdown Sundown’, is a more intimate and delicate affair. With the long, cold nights approaching, it has all the makings of becoming the ideal soundtrack to a winters evening.
Uniquely recorded underneath a pub by the sea in Kent, songs such as ‘Let Your Guard Down’ and ‘February Snow’ are bitterly poignant as Varley’s delivery is brittle as it’s clear rousing, singalong choruses don’t belong amongst this set of songs. It’s no doubt ‘Kingsdown Sundown’ is Varley’s most personal collection to date.
‘Too Late Too Soon’ highlights his ability to tell compelling, heart-wrenching stories as he sings about a tale of a forgotten love that is full of regret. ‘Wild Bird’ twinkles with promising new love yet ultimately it leads to disappointment. Varley’s delivery aches with hurt, forcing you to listen to every word. Yet it’s ‘One Last Look at the View’ which truly tugs at the heart strings with its soothing ballad tone. Varley is thoughtful, contemplating his mortality; “before I die, I would like to try and get one last look at the view.”
‘We Want A Planet Back’ serves as a soft rallying call lending itself to folk’s political roots with rare electric guitar strums complimenting Varley’s raw sentiment. When paired with opening track ‘Build A Wall’, you get the impression that Varley is subtly angry about the world we live in yet masks it in a beautiful and delicate manner.
Throughout he shows a refined, grounded sense of songwriting. It allows you to become immersed in his songs despite how cold and bleak they might be. Ultimately ‘Kingsdown Sundown’ highlights Varley’s maturing songwriting that rides on a calm wave of honesty.
‘Kingsdown Sundown’ by Will Varley is released on November 4th on Xtra Mile Records.
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Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)