William The Conqueror
Once a treasure of the folk circuit, Ruarri Joseph has been leading a double existence, 4 studio albums in under the moniker Ruarri Joseph the singer created William the Conqueror and hit a vein of creativity recording 3 albums of new music in his shed. 'I want people to hear the stories from a different perspective. After three years of keeping William in the dark, I want to switch things up. Ruarri can go off the radar it's William's turn now.' It's underlined in bold by the wisdom and wit of a lyrical slipstream that is, in turn, commanded by a scuffed leather baritone a combination that keeps the listener engrossed, informed and mystified in equal measure. Bursting with retro-infused energy, there are a myriad influences, underpinned by a taste for good, old-fashioned roots. One minute it's a hushed JJ Cale that somehow finds its way to an angry Jim Morrison or a late-70s Dylan; the next it's a grunge era Pearl Jam via Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits.
Indie rock trio William The Conqueror might well have just dropped one of 2021’s sleeper hits. It’s a record of cuts and bruises, wrapped within bittersweet leftfield rock n roll tunes. The band is fronted by Ruarri Joseph, a wry, patient storyteller, who has managed enough living to portray a world-weary wisdom in his words,but balances it all with enough optimism to suggest he hasn’t quite lived. ‘Maverick Thinker’ is a record of short, sharp shots to the arm. Fuzzy college rock with chops, one foot lingering menacingly over the distortion pedal.
Recorded in LA at the infamous Sound City Studios, Ruarri, Naomi Holmes (bass) and Harry Harding (drums) rattled through the album’s ten tunes at a breakneck speed. Which turns out to have been a good thing, because the sessions were cut short as the pandemic took grip. With the studio doors locked, the band spent a final, eerie day wandering a deserted Venice Beach before flying home early, but with the record already in the can. All that chaos brings a certain unpredictability to an album that nods to some of the US lo-fi greats and yet arrives at something innately British.
Praised for their grit and authenticity by The Guardian and NPR’s Ann Powers, their live performances have drawn wildly enthusiastic comparisons to Kings of Leon, Nirvana, Buffalo Tom and The Marshall Tucker Band.