Released as a taster for her upcoming covers collection, ‘Songs from Isolation’, A.A. Williams unveils her stripped back, piano-led version of The Pixies’ classic ‘Where is my Mind?’
It was back in March of this year, just before live music was shelved as a thing, that I discovered A. A. Williams supporting The Sisters of Mercy (and I’ve discovered a number of great acts this way over the years). On that outing, Williams and her backing band presented as proficient, but perhaps somewhat safe.
The original captures a certain crazed state (which made it a perfect choice for the Fight Club’ soundtrack), and it sits nicely alongside a tidy selection of alternative tunes including The Cure’s ‘Lovesong’, Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, ‘Every Day Is Exactly The Same’ by Nine Inch Nails (surely the ultimate lockdown anthem) and ‘Nights in White Satin’ (surely one of the greatest songs ever).
Williams’ treatment is certainly different from the original, and that’s a good thing: it would be hard to imagine any artist who could replicate their vibe and do the job justice, and just as the mania of said original is certainly befitting of the lockdown experience, so is Williams’ sparse, solo moment of hushed introspective ponderance. It’s beautifully played and equally beautifully sung. And yet something is absent: it feels somehow overly measured, cautious, restrained. None of this is to say it’s bad, because it really isn’t – but it could have actually worked as the tune for the 2020 John Lewis ad. Well, maybe.