| POSTED BY: ZOE MARQUEDANT
William Beckett cut off all his hair and jumped from The Academy Is... straight into a solo career. For his first step as a one-man band, Beckett announced three EPs, which he would release periodically instead of the traditional debut album. His first EP Walk the Talk was full of pop and hooks, an element which he had perhaps held back in previous projects. It walked both familiar and foreign ground, as Beckett tried to find his voice. He paid little mind to the opinions of others, unapologetically warning, "I don't care what you're saying about me / No I don't care" during the single "Compromising Me". The lyric served as a reminder that Beckett no longer severed any master and was free to peruse whatever musical path he pleased. It was a bold first step, which differentiated this new Beckett from the shaggy-haired frontman of the past.
The second EP Winds Will Change EP found Beckett continuing to reestablish himself. He took the opportunity to further expand his sound, exploring every sonic avenue pop rock has to offer. Each of the four songs wander in a slightly different direction and give no indication of where Beckett intends to head next. "Great Night" starts us off on a cheeky note. The song opens sounding like another unrequited love song, with jaunty guitar and rollicking drums. It isn't until the chorus kicks in with group vocals and the line "I've had a great night / but this wasn't it" that we notice the tongue-in-cheek. With all the spring of a summer anthem, "Great Night" takes a que sera sera approach towards the imperfect. Even on a bad night, Beckett still launches at us with all the energy he's got, a trend that continues through the EP.
Equally energetic, "Warriors" is a grittier dirt-under-the-fingernails tune about the give and take of relationships. For this song Beckett woke up with similar attitude of empowerment that he exhibited in "Compromising Me". His recent video for "Warriors" has Beckett walking around with a borderline rockabilly haircut and a leather jacket that together scream I-need-you-to-pay-attention-to-me. Negating his personal style, the Chicago-based is another anti-love song which gives Beckett a darker dimention beyond his boyish good looks.
"Scarlett (Tokyo)" a homage to "Lost in Translation" is an outright fun song, whether you've seen the movie or not. Taking yet another direction sonically, it's the most stripped back song on the EP and gives Beckett an opportunity to really work his lungs while staying in his vocal comfort zone. The final track "Dig a Hole" is the least impacting song on the album. He hits some impressive notes, but overall it doesn't serve much of a purpose other than allowing a plug of the album title as Beckett sings "I know the winds will change / together we'll get caught in the rain". Winds Will Change covers a lot of ground as far as trying on new sounds and leaves me curious to see what course Beckett will take for his next EP.
He even sounds good standing in a field: