As the consequences of settler-governments in Canada are unfolding everyday, Reliever offers a place of rest, “Where milk and honey pour free”.
William Prince is one of those artists with a voice no one else has, with a fullness that fills up the quiet with calm. Bordering on singer-songwriter and folk, Reliever features Prince’s profound sense of everyday life with a touch of country-western aesthetic in the lap-steel. “The Spark” opens the album with the question, “So am I dreaming, or is this just how we’re living now?”
Prince’s craft is setting the scene in the most familiar way, then painting in the fine details that are hard to catch in the day-to-day for more than a moment. “Always Have What We Had” is a bitter-sweet love song about the nature of building homes in human beings: “Always knew we had potential, but that’s just a painting in the rain, ‘cause flesh and blood needs flesh and blood, and where there’s blood there’s pain.” The chorus resolves with the matter-of-fact insight, “at least we’ll always have what we had”.
There’s a kind of wisdom to the way the lyrics are laid in the melodies, even on faster paced songs like “Wasted” and “Old Souls”. Organic acoustic guitar and sustained piano round out the sound while the drums stay soft, maintaining that ease even while upbeat. The whole tone of Reliever is uniquely grounded, baring a connectedness with family that few musicians can claim in their artist statement. Hailing from Peguis First Nation community in Manitoba, Prince carries generations of leadership in his heritage, which he generously shares in his songwriting.
As the consequences of settler-governments in Canada are unfolding everyday, Reliever makes a place of rest, “where milk and honey pour free”. Returning to the dream pondered at the start, the album closes with relief: “Well all lay down what we’re going through now, in the great wide open so free.”