‘Gold in The Shadow’, the new album from Illinois singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons, symbolises somewhat of a rebirth from the events which shaped his previous albums. Whilst it draws on many of the same themes from his previous work, most notably his parents divorce, this album focuses on healing and rebuilding his life in the aftermath of these events. The songs within this album, as Fitzsimmons explains in his own words, “are a real and long-coming confrontation with personal demons, past mistakes and the spectre of mental illness”.
The best way to describe ‘Gold in The Shadows’ would be that it is a contemporary folk album, which is as easy to listen to as it is poetically thought provoking. Utilising vocal effects, electronic drum compositions and a range of guitar sounds to create a therapeutic tidal wave from which we find ourselves floating on.
The album offers a number of recognisable lyrical riffs, employed through Fitzsimmons soft yet husk voice, most notably ‘Beautiful Girl’. In this track you hear him almost whisper the lyrics; “Beautiful Girl, may the weight of world resign. You will get better,” a stand out sentiment that really sums up and reflects this albums purpose and direction.
Elsewhere songs like ‘Psychasthania’ draw similarities with fellow American contemporary solo artist Sufjan Stevens. The track draws on Electro drum loops along with computer generated harmonies and experimental guitar sounds to create a postmodern appeal. Fitzsimmons draws on the chorus; “Cut me open please,” to put across a despairing yet strong message.
First single released from “Gold In The Shadows”, titled The Tide Pulls The Moon.
Pick of the tracks is ‘Let You Break’ featuring Australian singer Julia Stone. The duet feed of each other to assimilate what seems like friends, offering advice and reassurance. Whilst another favorite would be ‘The Winter From Her Leaving’, which despite the title offers a bright summery acoustic guitar riff alongside tambourine driven percussion.
Fitzsimmons’ easy listening style and emotional themes have drawn interest from many main stream sources in the past, most notably TV programmes such as Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill, which used the psychological lyrical content to accentuate their shows content.
Whilst it’s beauty is undeniably apparent, ‘Gold In The Shadows’ doesn’t push the boundaries you feel it probably set out to do. That isn’t to say that this is a flop – anything but infact – William Fitzsimmons manages to find a stable middle ground between overtly experimental and casual mainstream advert music resulting in album that makes you happy to be alive when consumed as a cocktail with summer sun.