Analogue Music | William Fitzsimmons - Ready the Astronaut
William Fitzsimmons - Ready the Astronaut

William Fitzsimmons - Ready the Astronaut

Artist: William Fitzsimmons · Written by Matt Conner

Date Released

25 June, 2021



The substance is similar, but the style is a dramatic step forward.

Ready the Astronaut is the latest album from William Fitzsimmons and the difference is immediately clear from the first strum of an electric guitar. Sixty seconds in, however, another wave crashes—a familiar one—reminding you of the familiar terrain of a consistent heart laid bare. Both are most welcome developments.

Fitzsimmons' fan base is one built on vulnerability, a rare exchange of artist and audience marked by admitted insecurities and doubts, mistakes and missteps. Even in interviews, Fitzsimmons has no problems coming clean about marriages that didn't work and risks that went unrewarded. And it all bleeds into the music in beautiful and meaningful ways.

It's Fitzsimmon's willingness to open himself up in such rare ways that allow the listener to connect at such a deep level, and this has been true since his debut came out in 2005, Until We Are Ghosts. However, on Astronaut, these confessions and revelations are given new textures within which to reach the listener, a familiar fire given a new hearth and home.

"Down with Another One" is a great example of the sonic shifts for Fitzsimmons on Ready the Astronaut. A simple backbeat is paired with a guitar riff for a straightforward beginning upon which Fitzsimmons laments another love lost as he sings, "You were my only one / I thought we'd see the sun / Down with another one." As the song gains a bit of momentum, the guitar and percussion form one of the album's most exciting tracks.

The electric approach is even more enthralling on the opening track "Dancing on the Sun," even as the sentiment remains the same. "I thought you'd put me in the ground / And you'd lay right by my side ... All the seedlings that we laid / Someone else will grow them," sings Fitzsimmons on a mid-tempo number that feels a bit epic in the space in inhabits by song's end.

From the slow synth work that carries "No Promises" to the synth rock canvas of the title track, there's a lot of interesting choices in instrumentation on Fitzsimmons' latest work. These aren't drastic changes, however, that are likely to jar any longtime listener. Instead, it's a bit bolder entry in a catalog that's anchored by Fitzsimmons' ability to connect like few artists can.