With the world locking down and our atmosphere growing dark under the blanket of Winter, there’s not much else to do but reflect. Mental health has always been important, but it feels much more relevant this year. After months of anticipation, Bryony Williams releases her new EP – her first for Beth Shalmon Records – State I’m In. It documents all things Bryony Williams 2020. The highs, the lows, the laughs, the sads – it’s got everything you could want and more.
A bold EP demands a strong opener and ‘Knockin’’ delivers aplenty. A stomping rhythm glides through the speakers with a hint of The Black Keys, and a whole dose of swagger causing a ruckus against introspective lyrics that details Bryony’s struggle with depression. It creates a serious contrast, one that gets swallowed by the dreamy middle section that smooths the edges before resuming things with that ballsy riff.
‘Cherry Red’ and ‘I Can Be’ counteract the above with a flourish of joyous sounds full of positivity. The giddiness in the vocals of ‘Cherry Red’ shine through the shimmering melodies, and it’s pretty much impossible not to feel empowered by ‘I Can Be’. It is a glorious anthem that channels self-worth and injects it right into your beautiful mind.
Of course, the good times were only going to last for a while. ‘Dive’ is the Debbie Downer of the EP. It removes the mood and leaves behind a desolate soundscape devoid of joy and giddiness. Not to sound too downbeat on this – I absolutely adore it. Bryony Williams throws us into the – pun intended – deep end of the other side of her mind. It is full of pain, projected by vocals at their most subdued. Stark piano chords ring out against an atmosphere that haunts with its cold delivery.
State I’m In is a fantastic EP. It’s an EP that set out to provide a rounded introduction of who Bryony Williams is in 2020, and it does that tremendously. This level of introspection is one I greatly admire and hope to achieve myself. One of the best EPs of the year? Absolutely.