Sweet Billy Pilgrim: Crown and Treaty
Most bands that work on their recording in a garden shed don’t have a great reputation. Not so with Sweet Billy Pilgrim. They may have found finer accommodations to create Crown and Treaty, but the English group has retained that blissful unawareness of how other bands work.
What Sweet Billy Pilgrim offers up is richly layered art rock. Each song has an uplifting feeling, but you never know when you might get a blast of horns or percussion. Fans of The New Pornographers, Arcade Fire, and Broken Social Scene will find themselves perfectly at-home with this feel-good indie album with a male/female vocal combination.
From the top, with opener “Joyful Reunion,” Sweet Billy Pilgrim shows that they are out to impress. The lyrics are clever and nuanced (“when I was the word breaking out of the parentheses”), and the structure quickly gives way to a military-style snare. This stomping introduction leads into “Archaeology,” which shifts quickly to a proggy, ‘80s bass and guitar trade off. Some bands couldn’t pull it off, but the transition here is effortless.
Acoustic fans will also find this album rewarding with tracks like “Arrived at Upside Down” and “Blood is Big Expense.” Crown and Treaty arrived to rave response in the UK, and on this short, it deserves the same reception.