October 4, 2019 William DuVall – One Alone (Album Review)
You know the exceptional William DuVall as the frontman of the legendary Alice In Chains, but now it’s time to delve into his debut solo offering, One Alone. DVL Recordings deliver the disc on Friday, October 4th, 2019.
Few musicians have had a career as artistically diverse and successful as DuVall. From forming legendary Atlanta Hardcore band Neon Christ as a teenager in 1983 to his time with Rockers Madfly and Comes with the Fall, all the way to his 2016 supergroup collaboration Giraffe Tongue Orchestra (with members of Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan), he has continually explored eclectic soundscapes for over 35 years.
Simply put, one cannot accuse DuVall of sitting idle. With his oeuvre of work spanning many genres, time has now arrived for the musician to draft his debut solo collection, One Alone. Recorded and mixed by long-time collaborators Jeff Bakos (GG Allin & the Southern Baptists, Delta Moon) and Jeffrey Blount (Madfly, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra), the 11-track collection strips itself down to present minimalist, acoustic presentations that intentionally strike raw emotion.
One Alone opens to the sweet acoustics of first single/video “‘Til The Light Guides Me Home.” A spine-tingling, intimate moment shared with DuVall, this redemptive track sets the pace for an alluring acoustic collection full of storytelling and passionate craft. Highlighting the musician’s exceptional vocal abilities, often poetic prose, and beautiful melodies, the album remains unplugged throughout, offering selections that are peppered with understandably eclectic influences ranging from Rock to Blues, to Folk.
Next, the vibe is suitably more solemn for “The Veil Of All My Fears,” as a haunting mantilla of betrayal inspires DuVall’s reflections. Meanwhile, it would be hard to deny that you don’t hear echoes of Alice In Chains in the otherworldly haze of “The 3 Wishes.” Like a sonic fairytale full of passionate longing, “Strung Out On A Dream” leads to the fiery and funky “White Hot,” where DuVall continues to wear his emotions on his guitar strings.
Dipping back down into darker sonic vibes, the universally relatable “Still Got a Hold on My Heart” paves the way for a return to those bluesy, saucy feels on “Smoke And Mirrors.” Beginning in the lower range of his vocal register, “So Cruel” presents a sultry smoker that contrasts beautifully with the catchy “Chains Around My Heart,” a perfectly-crafted inspiration to lend your own voice to the fray.
These infectious melodies are also fully present in “Keep Driving Me Away,” which gently fades into the ether, preparing the listener for the conclusion of One Alone. An edgier, grittier catharsis, the haunting “Waiting Out the Breakdown” wraps DuVall’s first solo offering up with a bang, proving the singer-songwriter’s abilities eleven times over.
One Alone tiptoes across the eardrums like a mystical cloak of smoldering fog. As if there was any doubt, the collection cements DuVall as a magnificent talent with the ability to passionately croon his heartfelt tales of poetic longing. Steeped with universally relatable songs of heartbreak, resilience and hard-won wisdom, One Alone does not rewrite any of the rules, but it certainly stands as a testament that intelligent songwriting and sincere musical abilities will always win out over studio finesse. Raw and relatable, Cryptic Rock give the late-night confessional One Alone 4.5 of 5 stars.