Monday 3 February 2020

'50 Foot Woman' by Hannah Williams & The Affirmations

Hannah Williams & The Affirmations return with '50 Foot Woman' - the follow-up to their widely acclaimed breakthrough project back in 2016.

And what a breakthrough that was!  The now famous sampling of the band's title track 'Late Nights & Heartbreak' by hip-hop producer No ID for the title track of Jay-Z's '4:44' in 2017 was masterful in its execution not only serving to propel the notoriety of Hannah Williams & The Affirmations but also that of their Milan-based independent label home, Record Kicks.

While 'Late Nights & Heartbreak' also benefitted from the production wizardry of the revered drummer and producer Malcolm Catto (The Heliocentrics), '50 Foot Woman' sees the reigns expertly picked up by the tirelessly prolific Shawn Lee whose varied work for a variety of artists ranging from the deep funk of the Monophonics to the synth-pop of Diane Birch makes him the perfect production partner for the Bristol-based collective.

As a band whose live shows receive boundless acclaim - it's never been hard to see that each of the band's studio recordings are the result of compositions that have seen their development continuously honed from a live setting - and whether it's these infectious high-energy numbers or whether it's their lush ballads, you should be salivating at the thought of seeing Hannah Williams & The Affirmations live however you can.

‘50 Foot Woman’ displays their excellence on the more up-tempo funky dance floor fillers as per usual but where this album excels – where its true brilliance lies – is within its soul-drenched and string-filled ballads, as beautifully demonstrated in songs ‘Tablecloth', 'Please Be Good To Me' and the absolute show-stealer, 'Hourglass'.  Hannah Williams brings an aching authenticity and depth to powerful lyrics and emotions over a beautiful backdrop painted by The Affirmations.

Record Kicks have always been incredibly blessed with a roster that epitomises a flawless selection of contemporary funk and soul but projects from Hannah Williams & The Affirmations really do sit in a class of their own against practically any band you could them in comparison to.  Even venturing back to when Hannah Williams was paired with The Tastemakers for 'A Hill of Feathers' (2012) resulting in another flawless record, the talent on display is undeniable and '50 Foot Woman' is further proof of that fact.

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