This site too slow? Try a mirror  --  Subscribe to the Guide  --  Find artist:
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

Goya Dress


Country of origin:

Scotland, England

Type of music generally:

Alternative pop/rock

Status:

Band has broken up. Their last (and only) full-length album, Rooms, was released in 1996. The lead singer, Astrid Williamson (who first recorded as simply "Astrid"), released a solo album in '98 and the rest of Goya Dress' personnel appear on it.

See also:

The Astrid Williamson's site

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for Astrid Williamson

Comparisons:

Kristin Hersh, PJ Harvey, or Lisa Germano. (Neile)

Astrid acknowledges Kate Bush ("a master of instrumentation and arrangement") and Björk as influences but refuses any comparisons with Tori Amos or Lush. Her style is less direct, she uses strange paths to reach her goal but finally succeeds. Like Björk, she comes from a place that has its own culture and her roots play an important role in her music.
     My opinion is, if you like Tori Amos and the Throwing Muses buy Rooms—you will probably like this band. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

Covers/own material:

Own, occasional covers

General comments:

The very first Goya Dress EP, Bedroom Cinema has a song where Astrid Williamson's voice really sounds like Jane Siberry's to me—quite a surprise to hear Jane singing in a alternative rocky/dreamy/indefinable kind of Brit rock band—but for the most part since then neither the band Goya Dress' work nor Astrid's solo album sound particularly like Jane. There's especially little similarity in musical style but the voices can be somewhat similar. Astrid's voice is more scratchy than Jane's and her music can basically be described as alternapop/rock. It's pop but along the lines of Kristin Hersh, PJ Harvey, or Lisa Germano, though more pop than Kristin and more upbeat than as relentlessly dark as Lisa. Astrid Williamson has quite a way with a pop hook, and these songs will really grow on you, from the upbeat songs to the haunting ballads. I love this music. Cool band name, too. (Neile)

Goya Dress is Astrid Williamson's band. She writes all the songs. She comes from the Shetland islands, in the north of Scotland, famous for their sheep, wind and rain. :-)
     Her father was a musician and her mother a singer. She grew up between Maria Callas and Hank Williams. After studying classical music she discovered rock and roll and decided to try her chance in London where she began by playing piano in bars and finally got signed by a major. The band's album, Rooms, was released early last year. It is varied, going from rock to intimate piano ballads. The common point between all the songs is the sadness of the lyrics and the beautiful voice of the singer that would draw tears from a rock.
     The lyrics hint of sadness and doubts but in a discrete, almost apologetic, way. She explains them by an itinerant and troubled childhood and sees the stage as a kind of therapy. She acknowledged this in an interview and confess that she tries to write "lighter" lyrics but fails because "they don't seem right". I can confirm that the band's concerts are a strange experience both depressing and enthralling, if this makes any sense. The energy is here but is used to convey ambiguous feelings that hit you insidiously. She reminds me of Maria McKee in more ways than once but a Maria that would have started where she is now, without the country-rock period. It is no coincidence that they opened for her on her last tour. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

Recommended first album:

Rooms or the Bedroom Cinema ep if you can find it

Recordings:


Bedroom cinema ep

Release info:

1996(?)—Nude records

Availability:

Hard to find

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Astrid Williamson—guitars, piano, vocals
Terry de Castro—bass, backing vocals
Simon Pearson—drums

Comments:

An extremely catchy set of songs. Maybe because it's the first thing of theirs I heard, but I think it knocks the rest (except maybe the album, which though it took a while to grow on me I now love) out of the water. It's here that Astrid's voice most strongly reminded me of Jane Siberry, and the songs were enough to make me follow the band and get each of their new releases as they appeared. This is wonderful alternative pop, alternately rocking and haunting. (Neile)

Ruby ep

Release info:

1996(?)—Nude records

Availability:

Hard to find

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Astrid Williamson—guitars, piano, vocals
Terry de Castro—bass, backing vocals
Simon Pearson—drums

Comments:

For some reason I haven't been able to get into Ruby—maybe I just haven't given it enough of a chance because it has been overshadowed by Bedroom cinema and Rooms, and now Astrid's first solo release. While I like the songs here, I would say it's the least essential of their releases. (Neile)

Rooms

Release info:

1996—Nude Records (distributed by Sony Music)—483902-2

Availability:

Large (in Europe)

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Astrid Williamson—guitars, piano, vocals
Terry de Castro—bass, backing vocals
Simon Pearson—drums

Produced by:

John Cale

Comments:

The album, Rooms, ranges from the extremely boppy "Crush" (one of the singles) and powerful, haunting "Glorious" (the other single). I think there's a lot of promise there, and in the meantime I'm delighted to listen to Bedroom Cinema and Rooms. It was one of my favourite pop album of all this summer, though it's hard to pinpoint why it's so catchy and why I find it compelling. Something to do with the way Astrid Williamson sings and constructs songs. It's alternapop with touches of the bigger stuff. Lively and haunting both. (Neile)

A very promising first album, which alternates soft violins and piano with violent melodies that leaves you baffled. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

It's good. An album that in my opinion is very listenable. (Alvin.Brattli@phys.uit.no)


Thanks to Yves Denneulin for work on this entry.

Why the ads?
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2013-09-01 16:36:32.
Please request permission if you wish to
reproduce any of the comments in the
Ectophiles' Guide in any context.

The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music is copyright © 1996-2004 by the editors.
Individual comments are copyright © by their authors.
Web site design and programming copyright © 1998-2004 usrbin design + programming.
All rights reserved.