Saturday 16 February 2013

Bill Times A Billion - Say It Nicer

EP review by

Bill Times A Billion are a duo from New York. Deja vu time? I wonder what it's like to live in New York and not be in a duo? We feel sorry for all those solo artists out there, they must feel awfully left out, especially on Valentine's Day because so many of these pairings are romantic as well as musical, including this one. It's proven once again to be a winning formula though, and the five tracks here (there are three covers too) are mighty fine. Those covers first; they're maybe not obvious choices. Guided By Voices 'Motor Away' is given a nice makeover with added emotion from a female vocal; less obvious is Sam Cooke's 'Bring It On Home To Me' which was of course never meant to be a lo-fi indie tune and naturally nobody can do that voice justice, but that's not the point. It really is a quite sweet version. Maybe most surprising is Tommy James & The Shondelles' 'I Think We're Alone Now' (made famous by Tiffany) which works a treat wrapped in fuzz like this.

We tend to focus more on original tracks, and those hold their own surprisingly well alongside these classics, in part due to having the same sound; Bill Times A Billion make no concessions for other people's songs, they're performed as if they were their own. 'The Luxury' is a quick blast of scuzzy lo-fi, 'Friends Want Hope' offers something more substantial, especially when they amp it up for the chorus. It's the longest of their own compositions which they accurately describe as "short but sweet". 'Talking With The Sky' is sweet; nothing more than guitar and vocals yet it avoids all the cliches involved with such an approach, similarly they work that same magic on 'Name It What You Want', gradually adding a simple beat for extra garage-rock stylings. It'll probably be the cover versions that draw people to this record, but their own compositions will help you stick around.

Bill Times A Billion's website

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