|Sweet Billy Pilgrim|
Sweet Billy Pilgrim — Motorcade Amnesiacs
–•¬ Mistrovské dílo. Muzikanství si zaslouží zvláštní zmínku. Multiinstrumentace, zvláštní svět, kde se mísí jemné akustická hudba, jazz a electronica, aniž by to znělo úplně jako jeden žánr. Funguje to. Tato verze bude příjemná pro větší spektrum fans, než jen pro obdivovatele Kurta Vonneguta, kteří cítí povinnost poslouchat na základě názvu kapely (navzdory skutečnosti, že toto je opravdu úžasný název kapely). Nejlepší písně: “Make It So”, “Burn Before Reading” + “Just Above Midtown”. Sweet Billy Pilgrim are an English experimental rock/art rock band, composed of bassist/banjo player Anthony Bishop, guitarist and singer Jana Carpenter, singer, guitarist and songwriter Tim Elsenburg, and drummer/percussionist Alistair Hamer.
Formed: 2003 in London, England
Location: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England
Album release: 25 May 2015
Record Label: Kscope
01 Candle Book and Bell 3:59
02 FFwd to the Freeze Frame 4:50
03 Make It So 4:19
04 Slingshot Grin 6:05
05 Tyrekickers 5:17
06 Burn Before Reading 4:27
07 Just Above Midtown 3:43
08 Chasing Horses 2:41
09 Longstreth 5:57
10 We Just Did What Happened and Nobody Came 5:26
11 Coloma Blues 5:21
12 Grove Ponies (Bonus Track) 14:42
13 Everclear (Bonus Track) (Demo Version) 3:46
14 Insurgentes (Bonus Track) (Sweet Billy Pilgrim Remix) 5:34
℗ 2015 Sweet Billy Pilgrim
•• Anthony Bishop bassist/banjo player
•• Jana Carpenter guitarist and singer
•• Tim Elsenburg singer, guitarist and songwriter
•• Alistair Hamer drummer/percussionist
By Daniel Paton | Posted on 1 Jun 2015 | Score: ****
–•¬ Bands who have endured for long enough to reach a fourth album often face a tricky conundrum — how to develop their sound, approach and ideas without sacrificing the qualities that make them distinctive? Sometimes this leads to uncomfortable reactions to previous albums or to abrupt shifts in direction. The best artists manage to achieve some sort of natural, comprehensible evolution that attracts new listeners as well as satisfying longstanding admirers.
–•¬ It is this that Sweet Billy Pilgrim, one of the UK’s most adventurous and consistently engaging bands, have achieved with Motorcade Amnesiacs. There are some quite substantial developments here — greater roles for individual band members (particularly Jana Carpenter, who sings lead vocals on several of the tracks), unusual and striking arrangements, a sharper pop sensibility to match the progressive overtones and a greater sense of fun and adventure.
–•¬ This is still a band that seems to revel in the rejection of conventional rules and expectations — arguably even more so here than before. Perhaps as a result of this, Motorcade Amnesiacs doesn’t quite cohere as strongly as Twice Born Men or Crown And Treaty — but then that’s perhaps at least partially the point. After listening to much of this music, it’s hard to see why heavy rock riffs to rival Black Sabbath shouldn’t sit comfortably alongside Tears For Fears–inspired sophisticated pop, sudden injections of disco grooves or the country and blues–tinged melancholy largely contributed by Jana Carpenter.
–•¬ Quite often, Tim Elsenberg and his band members inject several ideas in to the space of one song. FFwd To The Freeze Frame begins with angular, rhythmic poise and a striking arrangement of saxophones before subliming into something lush and euphoric. Coloma Blues manages to combine some classic rock tropes (harmonised guitar lines, hints of heavy metal) with cinematic sound worlds and a Nashville–tinged chorus. It feels like a vivid hallucination — the kind of experiment which shouldn’t work, but which in this band’s hands inevitably does.
–•¬ Then there are the moments of sheer surprise — such as the brittle, quasi–reggae groove on the verses of We Just Did What Happened And Nobody Came or the disco meets pristine 80s pop confection of Just Above Midtown (blessed with one of the band’s most glorious and infectious choruses). Moments such as this serve to underline the band’s ethos — these are musicians who care little for appeasing fashions or trends, but rather simply follow their ideas and inspirations wherever they lead.
–•¬ Other tracks appear to adopt a more linear approach. Slingshot Grin builds patiently from a gritty, Tom Waits–infused first act to a more richly orchestrated finale. The gentler, more reflective Longstreth (presumably named after Dave Longstreth from Dirty Projectors, a similarly adventurous and meticulous act) briefly incorporates some of the more bucolic strands of the band’s sound familiar from Crown And Treaty, before expanding outwards in to a shimmering delight. It is at once both vulnerable and powerful.
–•¬ The band have also found some strands that lead back to their roots too. The opening Candle Book And Bell might even be considered a slightly misleading starting point given how comfortably it could have sat on Crown And Treaty. It has a classic SBP chorus, big and melodic but not brazen or manipulative. We Just Did What Happened And Nobody Came fuses some of their earlier characteristics with new sounds and ideas, its title almost directly referencing the name of their less well known debut album.
–•¬ Whenever Carpenter sings, the music seems to adopt different qualities — more reflective and melancholy perhaps — but not in an introverted way. Her tone is also brighter and more outward reaching. It is this further meeting of worlds — unforced and compelling — that makes Motorcade Amnesiacs such a successful work.
–•¬ The original three members met while at school. Elsenburg and Bishop are from Wingrave and Hamer from Wendover, both near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. American born Carpenter joined the band in 2010.
–•¬ Sweet Billy Pilgrim formed in 2003 after their previous band, Cordisto, came to an end. The band are named after the main character in Kurt Vonnegut's book Slaughterhouse 5.
–•¬ After repeated rejections from both major and independent record labels, Elsenburg bought a Power Book, they installed Logic, and the band began to record themselves. Due to financial restraints, the early Sweet Billy Pilgrim recordings up until 2012’s “Crown and Treaty” were (apart from the acoustic drums) produced in a garden shed using a laptop and one quite good microphone. The band feel this has had a positive influence on their sound.
–•¬ Their first release “Experience”, was distributed amongst fans and was followed up by the Stars Spill Out of Cups EP. Released on their own label (Luxor Purchase) and featuring hand–stamped artwork, it contains three songs: “Stars Spill Out of Cups”, “God In The Details”, and “Atlantis”. The band also gave away a recording called “Forget to Breathe” as an mp3.
–•¬ As of 2012, they have released three albums.
–•¬ “We Just Did What Happened and No One Came” was released in 2005 and awarded four stars by Mojo magazine, and The Sunday Times called it “a rather special debut”, making the track “Stars Spill Out of Cups” one of their songs of the year.
–•¬ “Twice Born Men” was released in 2009 and was awarded five stars by Italian magazine Rockstar and made CD of the Week by The Sunday Times; later that year it made The Sunday Times top 100 albums of 2009 list. The album was also awarded four stars by Mojo and Uncut, and was made a Mercury Prize album of the year for 2009.
–•¬ “Crown and Treaty” was released on 30 April 2012. Critical response was very positive, with all major UK national papers awarding the record four or five stars out of five. It was awarded five stars and Instant Classic by Mojo and four stars by Q magazine. The majority of the recording for this album took place at Elsenburg’s cottage, with the exception of the acoustic drums which were recorded at Earth Terminal studios and the choir which was recorded at Grove studios. “Crown and Treaty” was self–released on their own label (Luxor Purchase) much like the early recordings, but distributed through EMI label services.
–•¬ Besides their work as Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Bishop, Hamer, and Elsenburg have worked together as session musicians, having toured as members of Martin Grech’s band during the Open Heart Zoo era, and playing on the Toyah Willcox album Velvet Lined Shell.
–•¬ Carpenter writes for, sings, and performs with folk band Piefinger.
–•¬ Bishop currently plays electric bass in The Boy Least Likely To’s touring band, and his playing is featured on both of the band’s albums.
–•¬ Hamer toured with The Boy Least Likely To until 2008, and his drumming is featured on the James Dean Bradfield album The Great Western.
–•¬ Elsenburg has recorded and performed with Steve Jansen, recorded with Adem Ilhan, remixed for David Sylvian and Steve Adey, and written with Toyah Willcox.
–•¬ Due to the complexity and layering of sounds used on the recordings, recreating the songs live requires the members to play many different instruments on stage. Bishop plays electric bass, banjo, and vocals. Carpenter plays acoustic guitar, cymbals, samples, keyboards and vocals. Elsenburg plays guitar, keyboards, harmonica, and vocals. Hamer plays drums (usually a Yamaha Rock Tour Custom), samples, and vocals. They are typically joined live by musician Dan Garland playing piano, keyboards, samples, vocals, and square waves, Barney Muller on electric guitar and backing vocals; and sometimes by Adam Chetwood (I Am Arrows) playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar and banjo.
–•¬ On 9 July 2010 Sweet Billy Pilgrim appeared as themselves in series four, episode three (“Something Happened”) of The IT Crowd.
–•¬ On 13 July 2010 their song “Future Perfect Tense” was made available as a download for the game Rock Band 2.
–•¬ In August 2010 they recruited Jana Carpenter and started recording their third studio album.
–•¬ In April 2013 in collaboration with Mojo magazine the band gave away a free download of Crown and Treaty with the full artwork in exchange for signing up to their mailing list.
–•¬ In March 2014 they began recording their fourth studio album. In March 2015, it was announced that the band had signed to Kscope, and that they would be releasing the new album — Motorcade Amnesiacs — on 25 May 2015. The first single from the album, Coloma Blues, was premiered at the same time as the album announcement.
–•¬ The band also launched a release campaign for Motorcade Amnesiacs on direct–to–fan platform PledgeMusic.
–•¬ In April 2015, the band revealed the video for their new single Just Above Midtown. •••
••• We Just Did What Happened and No One Came — Wonderland Avenue (2005)
••• Twice Born Men — Samadhi Sound (2009)
••• Crown and Treaty — Luxor Purchase (2012)
••• Motorcade Amnesiacs — Kscope (2015)
••• Stars Spill Out Of Cups EP — Luxor Purchase (2004)
••• Brugada EP — Spoilt Victorian Child (2005)
••• Experience — Luxor Purchase (2004)
••• Forget to Breathe — Luxor Purchase (2005)
••• Future Perfect Tense b/w Kalypso (featuring Jen from the IT Crowd) — Samadhi Sound (2010)
••• Coloma Blues — Kscope (2015)
••• Just Above Midtown — Kscope (2015)
By: Martyn Coppack | May 25, 2015 |
By Thomas Podbury | June 2, 2015 | Score: 4 / 5
|Sweet Billy Pilgrim|