13 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

William Fitzsimmons’ fifth studio album, Lions—produced by Chris Walla, guitarist for Death Cab for Cutie and producer of Tegan & Sara, The Decemberists, and The Postal Service—often works with hushed arrangements that recall the forlorn work of Elliott Smith, Pete Yorn, Iron & Wine, and Brendan Gamble. Walla and Fitzsimmons focus on vocals, harmonies, fingerpicked acoustic guitar, and piano, with subtle synths and other atmospheric methods all pushed to the back of the mix. This lets songs like “Fortune,” “Blood/Chest," and “Hold On” reach their full emotional potential. A former mental health counselor born to blind parents, Fitzsimmons plays with a dedicated focus; he understands his music is best when it creates a consistent, unspoiled mood. A suggestion of a nasty electric guitar starts “Centralia,” and its sense of menace hangs over the pretty folk melody as the song progresses minute to minute, with a string section being cut off at song’s end. Few songs as gorgeous as “Sister” exist in any genre. Thankfully, Fitzsimmons understands not to challenge such simple beauty but to let it flow from his soul. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

William Fitzsimmons’ fifth studio album, Lions—produced by Chris Walla, guitarist for Death Cab for Cutie and producer of Tegan & Sara, The Decemberists, and The Postal Service—often works with hushed arrangements that recall the forlorn work of Elliott Smith, Pete Yorn, Iron & Wine, and Brendan Gamble. Walla and Fitzsimmons focus on vocals, harmonies, fingerpicked acoustic guitar, and piano, with subtle synths and other atmospheric methods all pushed to the back of the mix. This lets songs like “Fortune,” “Blood/Chest," and “Hold On” reach their full emotional potential. A former mental health counselor born to blind parents, Fitzsimmons plays with a dedicated focus; he understands his music is best when it creates a consistent, unspoiled mood. A suggestion of a nasty electric guitar starts “Centralia,” and its sense of menace hangs over the pretty folk melody as the song progresses minute to minute, with a string section being cut off at song’s end. Few songs as gorgeous as “Sister” exist in any genre. Thankfully, Fitzsimmons understands not to challenge such simple beauty but to let it flow from his soul. 

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