Willie J Healey – Bunny
For his third studio album, Willie J Healy has settled into himself, expressing love and life through funky melodies, hazy synths, soulful harmonies and, of course, his effortless falsetto.
Bunny glows most brightly at its start and its end, with Woke Up Smiling throwing listeners straight into what the album is all about: harmonies, head bopping and the soulful slowness of late August in musical form. Dreams is smooth and groovy, the riffs and ad libs into the mic giving it a natural feel; the fun he had making it shakes loose within the track. First single Tiger Woods is still a standout, a slow and sensual serenade with a hazy ending that is somehow both gospel and electric.
The record may at times be overwhelmed by having background harmonies in the majority of choruses, but Healey keeps it grounded with tracks like the soulful Black Camero or Thank You (feat. Jamie T) and Little Sister where his lower register grabs you and keeps you with him.
Morning Teeth is another standout. It encompasses what Healey is doing on Bunny; the brass instrumental and lines “Here I am / Here I always was / Exactly where I’m meant to be” are intimate and hopeful.
It was this collection that caught the attention of Florence Welch, whom Healey will be touring with come autumn, and it’s clear why. Sitting at an easy 13 songs, Bunny is a sweet record, meshing his usual indie sound with soul, RnB, and even some 70s funk. He joins forces with producer Loren Humphrey (Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Lana Del Rey) in this attempt to push himself musically and mature his sound from his last album, Twin Heavy. Together, they offer an album full of interesting mixes, adding a fresh metallic quality to otherwise very warm and soulful tracks. It’s tightly done, each mix adding depth, rather than being there just for the sake of trying something new, which ultimately makes the album as a whole feel both nostalgic and fresh.
Bunny is released on 25th August 2023. For further information or to order the album visit Willie J Healy’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Woke Up Smiling here: