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Sons of Bill: Oh God Ma’am

review sons of bill x1 cong

If anyone complains to us that “there’s no good music about any more … not since <insert name of briefly popular band> split”, we’re going to perform drastic dental surgery with this CD, which is both excellent and new.

(Why do people say that about music? No-one ever says, “There’s no good paintings any more, Caravaggio was good but you look at that Henri Rousseau, it’s not what you call art” or “There’ve been no decent authors since HG Wells, I don’t know how that Ian McEwan gets away with it.”)

This a great set of songs, and baffled reviewers who’ve come across the band before say Sons of Bill have released a handful of excellent albums without so much as causing a ripple in the sales charts.

Sons of Bill are brothers Sam, Abe and James Wilson — their dad really is Bill — plus bassist Seth Green and drummer Todd Wellon.

The sound is Americana, with a folk influence, and it’s mostly dreamy and a little downbeat. The singing Wilson (or maybe Wilsons) provide vocals that can be gentle and soft, but also have the brittle quality of Kurt Cobain. (They also remind us of another kin band, The Barr Brothers — Andrew and Brad Barr — who combine blues and folk to similar, great, effect).

Opener Sweeter, Sadder, Farther Away is a slow ballad, just piano, guitar and vocals, perhaps a nod to fans it’s a more sober sound. After that it’s more upbeat and if not jolly, at least toe-tapping and pleasing to listen to. The sound is somewhere between The Barr Brothers and cultish Scottish bands: we thought of Cosmic Rough Riders and the woefully under-rated Crash My Model Car.

Fans of Americana and folk/pop should love this.

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