Hayley Williams - FLOWERS for VASES / descansos album review

Hayley Williams
(Image credit: Supplied)

HAYLEY WILLIAMS
FLOWERS for VASES / descansos
ATLANTIC / WARNER

The surprise sequel to Hayley Williams’ synth-inflicted solo debut, Petals For Armor, puts the enigmatic Paramore frontwoman in a much gloomier and more introspective atmosphere. The slow-burning journey is strikingly analogue, Williams laying her soul bare over a bed of raw, folky acoustic guitars and warm, empyrean keys. 

Such visceral honesty and tangible intimacy makes the record a bold and bewitching listen from cover to cover; we’ve always known Hayley had a skill for earnest and emotive balladry, but Flowers For Vases ups the ante tenfold with its soft and strained vocal runs and wintry, understated melodies. It’s a truly enthralling spread of strum and sonder, on which Williams fully embraces her Nashville origins and absolutely nails every folky bend and atmospheric warble. 

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…