Hayley Williams - 'Petals For Armor' EP Review
Updated: Mar 8
By Cam Cade
Hayley Williams, the lead singer for the band Paramore, already proved many times over that her in combination with Paramore guitarist Taylor York producing is a force to be reckoned with. Paramore’s 2017 album with the help of drummer Zac Farro was one of my favourite albums of that year. Hayley Williams solo project Petals for Armor maintains this trend for the singer, with an EP that feels unique and personal yet not every song is a complete success; it can feel like the EP meanders at times.
There is something unbelievably raw and real about this EP and it truly benefits from it. Williams deals with mental health and anxiety a lot within this EP in songs such as 'Simmer'. It’s clear that this album has been a chance for Williams to truly flex her strengths and songwriting prowess as well as allow a lot of vulnerability.
'Simmer' was the first track to be dropped from this EP and was a great sign of things to come. Williams' vocals are, unsurprisingly, the focal point of a lot of the tracks and are also often the highlights. Williams manages to walk the fine line of softness and power, switching between the two with purpose. Production is where the album thrives, as is the case with this song, where an intro of just Hayley Williams' breathing and beatboxing is completely engrossing. The track somehow feels both warming and cold at the same time, creating both a sense of protection and vulnerability. The lyrics are also cathy and full of emotion.
'Cinnamon' is extremely reminiscent of St. Vincent, with all the eccentrics and production quirks that Annie Clark is known for. This song is incredibly infectious. The groovy bassline and the twitchy drums create a somewhat contrasting and contradictory instrumental line that still falls perfectly into place.
However, 'Sudden Desire' is not as entertaining as the other tracks on this EP. For a final song on such a raw and real collection, you would hope for it to either act as a complete tension release or a quiet finish. Instead, the final track of Petals For Armor I just sort of dissipates. It doesn’t really go anywhere new, it doesn’t really flow with the rest of the tracks either, it’s just there. However, it is made up for by the brilliantly powerful, memorable and emotional vocals.
The main issue with the EP has hopefully been made clear throughout this review. There are two types of song on this EP, the ones that truly excite with their production techniques that are uncharacteristic of Williams' past projects. Then there are the ones that have no other fault that just being uninteresting in comparison. 'Leave It Alone' and 'Sudden Desire' fall into this category, with the former being a greater offender for this while maintaining the memorable lyrical content of songs such as 'Simmer'.
I must admit, I have that gut worry that it may be a long time before we see another Paramore album. However, seeing what Hayley Williams has produced in her first EP has given me hope for the music to come, creativity runs through every Paramore members' veins. Overall, Petals For Armor I is exciting and gripping at it's high points, at it's lows it can be a bit uninteresting. Not every song can be a hit though, right?
Listen to the EP below: