Words: Lewis Daly
Will And The People have been releasing music since 2011, a whole 10 years later comes their most developed work yet: Past the Point of No Return. They’ve gone in a refreshing new direction with this one and I, amongst many, couldn’t be happier.
The first two tracks set the scene for the album with elegance, professionalism, and atmospheric ambience. The title track starts off with a beautiful Ludovico Einaudi-Esque piano piece, with the rest of the instruments later introducing themselves creating a bigger, more powerful atmosphere.
Kamikaze then continues this theme, introducing Will’s iconic voice an octave or so lower than the register we’re used to hearing from him. It carries on from the title track effortlessly and slowly erupts into a composition full of timbre and power eventually drowning out to a single guitar preparing us for what’s to come.
The third track Money shows us what we might miss from their old tracks. It brings up the tempo and energy a bit and feels like a cross between their earlier style and the new one created in this album. It gives us that exciting groove and playfulness we all fell in love with in the first place. Lights Out then brings the energy levels back down into chilled relaxation and emotional vocals.
It’s like a fusion between Massive Attack and Faithless and doesn’t struggle to be understood. It gradually increases its groove and rhythm and brings us nicely into the next track Heaven. This is a great middle track for the album. It’s very down to earth and grounded, with a very ‘Will And The People’ sounding chorus, while the vocals in the verses have a subtle Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon) feel.
The next two tracks Do the Right Thing and Get My Shit Together are refreshing in the way they bring back the band’s original sound but in a new way. The former showcases their original sound a lot with the powerful singing and Will’s fast-paced rap style vocals, reminding me of one of my favourites of theirs, Trustworthy Rock, and maybe this is what he means by ‘half Slim Shady, half Bruce Springsteen’. The latter is a nice relaxing track that gives us a chance to breathe, ready for the last part of the album, and I really hope you’re ready for it.
Forwards is just so incredibly different to anything I’ve heard from them before, it’s got an Ibiza-house sounding piano chord progression and is a much more modern electronic sounding track but with some 80’s style synth leads. You can definitely still hear their own style, but it’s a new contemporary style of music you probably didn’t expect from them.
Mean Eye is yet another new style for them, even more electronic sounding than Forwards. A very different sound with some Black Eyed Peas style tuned vocals at points and a very rolling, repetitive feel to the whole track.
The penultimate track I Got a Guitar brings us back once again to Will’s iconic voice in his higher register. It then continues into a relaxed, hip-hop style. It’s like they took their original sound and fused it with a Mac Miller style relaxed, groove-filled instrumental. It then ends with a beautiful soundscape leading into the final track of the album When We Get There.
This final track ends the album very pleasantly, sticking with the melodic, emotional piano as outlined at the start of the album, giving us some nice continuity. It has a very sombre feel with a glimmer of hope as Will gives us his rap-style vocals again really driving home that emotion. Four minutes in it opens up that glimmer of hope into a compelling ensemble, provoking feelings of togetherness and safety.
Past the Point of No Return is a very polished album. It’s easy to see the effort and creativity that has gone into it. The band showcases their new musical direction and professionalism and it’s refreshing to hear the change in direction of their style. According to the lead singer, this album isn’t the only demonstration of their new sound, but they plan to continue with this vision in their future albums, which are very much in the works.
There’s no doubt that their sound has changed, they’ve gone from mischievous and fun, to masterful and accomplished, while retaining that essence of playfulness in their compositions. It didn’t take them long to complete this album either; their vision and creativity allowed them to churn out track after track, and glue them all into one coherent masterpiece.
The whole album takes what we thought Will And The People sounded like and flips those preconceptions on their heads. They’ve developed an even greater level of sophistication and competence.
From the tonality of the guitars and keys, to the tightness of the drums and the band’s overall chemistry, Will And The People are showing us what they’re made of. They’re taking their sound to the next level and after listening to this album, you’ll be more than excited to see what they do next.