Traditionally a quiet, introspective, weirdo folk outfit, England’s Sweet Billy Pilgram, have started to open up their wings and let loose on this album. There is some electric guitar riffing on this album, but it still hangs on to the quirkiness. The result could be compared to the psychedelic rock of the Zombies or the highly literate pop music of the Triffids. This release will be enjoyable for more than admirers of Kurt Vonnegut, who feel obliged to listen based on the band name (despite the fact that this is an admittedly awesome band name).
Sweet Billy Pilgram are releasing this album off the back of several successful albums. The band have received five star ratings from music magazine Mojo and were nominated for a Mercury Music Prize. Despite straying away from their comfortable place, the band have regardless have remained highly individual and creative.
The singing does unfortunately get a little too emotional at points though. This is not the lyrics, simply the tone. The lyrics are wonderful, with tracks such as Tyrekickers, FFwd to the Freeze Frame and Sling Shot Grin, interesting me and resonating with me long after the track finishes. The over-emotion that I refer to, is the lead singer, Tim Elsenburg, and his post-grunge voice. The album opener, Candle Book and Bell, is the quintesential example of this. Just an annoying whiny voice. The genre of this album is very difficult to nail down. There are signs of the blues (Slingshot Grin), electronic pop (Just Above Midtown), American Folk Music (Chasing Horses), and reggae (We Just Did What Happened and Nobody Came). I even found myself headbanging on the song Longstreth The album is very well produced, showing off the subtle delicacy in the band’s playing. This playing can be incredibly catchy. The hooks in the choruses of the tracks, Just Above Midtown and Longstreth has remained stuck in my head for days.
This is a minor criticism, more an annoyance of mine than anything else. Overall the album is a wonderful listen. There is a huge amount of diversity on the record. The group feels free to play around with so many different ideas, sound and emotions.