It’s been a long time coming, but Ainslie Wills’ debut album,You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine is finally here, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Winning fans across the country since the release of her debut self-titled EP in 2007, people are at last cottoning on to the beauty that is Ms. Wills.
Recorded (mostly) on the Mornington Peninsula over ten days in the winter of 2011, the 12-track release is a self-professed “labour of love.” It combines Wills’ signature haunting vocals with gorgeous orchestration, thanks in part to long-time friend and collaborator, Lawrence Folvig, who co-wrote 50% of the record.
Album opener, “Mary”, is a perfect introduction to Wills’ style. It has a stark beginning with church-like layered vocals (her guitar pedal resembling an organ), graduating into gentle electric picking and Wills’ magnetic voice gently crooning, “I hope you open up to me.”
By the time it reaches the pre-chorus, the listener is hooked as it continues to build with drums, strings and more voices singing “I heard what happened to your man.”
Though the owner of an impressive set of lungs, Wills’ voice is just as captivating when she holds back as when she unleashes her pitch-perfect wail.
“Satellite” begins with a husky, womanly whisper that gets under your skin and stays there as it effortlessly soars over high notes and back again. This track also features acoustic guitar, a welcome change from Wills’ signature electric.
Another acoustic-based song, “This Is What I Write” is refreshingly upbeat with gentle percussion and a catchy, wordless hook. It shows the versatility on this album that may not be as obvious on first listen.
Already an audience favourite, “Fighting Kind” is sexy and pace-driven with an infectious beat that cleverly takes a breather at the halfway mark, leaving you hanging for its return.
“Liquid Paper” is a highlight not only melodically, but lyrically too. Wills’ voice is heavy with emotion as she pleads with a friend in a damaging relationship, “What is it you see in him / that keeps you hanging on?”
It’s a slow burner, consisting of nothing but her arresting, soulful voice and steady guitar for almost two minutes.
Due to the nature of her music, this is an album that may take more than one listen to get into. However, it’s worth the effort as something new to appreciate arises with each play.
Drawing parallels to everyone from Thom Yorke to Etta James, Wills’ talent is vast.
It has been somewhat of a long path to album No.1, but rest assured You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mineis nothing if not a great leap in the right direction.