Anna-Lynne Williams was the singer in US dream-pop band Trespassers William and has previously worked with the Chemical Brothers. Now she records under the moniker of Lotte Kestner. Musically she can be likened to Aimee Mann fronting Talk Talk or The Red House Painters. Off White is her fifth album and most powerful musical statement to date.
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Once the extremely slow driving force behind glacial sadbuds Trespassers’ William, Anna-Lynne Williams has used her Lotte Kestner moniker as a vehicle for homemade covers and understated folk records, making warm music for the bitter seasons. ‘Off White’ is her first record of original material in quite a while and largely picks up where ‘The Bluebird of Happiness’ left off. A record of withering guitar picking and hushed keys, it provides the usual alchemy of lilting melancholy and close-quarters empathy.
Williams’ music as Lotte Kestenr offers the same slowcore that defined the Trespassers’ William era, but at a different distance -- rather than sound cosmic and stargazing, it’s from a room in an apartment, offering a voice close to its mic and piano from the corner of the room. Even as the record grows lush with additive melodies, as on “Have You Sailed Home”, Williams' strums ground the record in a distinctive homeiness.
Little has changed, between records, but this one feels more focused and, to convert an insult to compliment, stagnant -- hearing Kestner make a record so confident in its small, subtle movements is a marvel. These twelve songs have her signatures: immediate settings and slow-burning songwriting. Never breaking in this focus, ‘Off White’ is her biggest solo achievement to date.
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