By William Stead
Up for review today is 'St Christopher Protect Us,' the debut release from singer/songwriter William Stead. The EP features some decent moments, so I urge you to not be put off by the tired and generic album artwork choice of a topless woman.
Stead lists Bon Iver and James Vincent McMorrow among his influences and you can definitely hear that on 'St Christopher Protect Us.' The release is drenched in atmospheric reverb, and features vocal harmonies and instrumentation that conjure up a mood very reminiscent of both McMorrow and Bon Iver. The vocals are mostly double tracked, a la Elliot Smith, which I actually think suits the release down to a tee. In fact, overall, the production is very fitting for the music, and at points you forget that it was recorded in his mate's bedroom.
The standout song on the release, for me, would be 'One Last Chance', a slightly angsty number which gradually builds deliciously. However, there are some fairly monotonal vocal moments across the EP, which seems to be a stylistic choice but after a while, I found that it came across a bit whiney and at times it grated on me a little.
For a debut release, 'St Christopher Protect Us' features some decent song-writing and I think Stead has carved out an individual style for himself. Perhaps it's not a completely convincing release but the feel of the EP will appeal to many, and it features some enjoyable songs.