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Twice Born Men

Artist: Sweet Billy Pilgrim
Sweet Billy Pilgrim - Twice Born Men CD
Label: Samadhisound
Regular Price: $14.95
On Sale For: $12.47 
Year: 2009
Format: CD


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The sleeve for Twice Born Men offers considerably more information about the album’s artwork than it does about the music. Fair enough. The images of an old sailing ship ploughing through a stormy sea (chalk on blackboard, since you ask), as well as being beautiful, provide as good a handle as you’re likely to get on a sound that does indeed come at you in waves. Sweet Billy Pilgrim (Anthony Bishop, Tim Elsenburg and Alistair Hamer) are masters at creating the kind of music that won’t reveal its origins. Occasionally, you pick out a piano or a banjo, but, for the most part, it’s hard to work out what’s doing what. Perhaps that’s not surprising: the instrumentation allegedly includes a “tuned dishwasher”. On top of this hard-to-define but easy-to-love music — which has found the perfect home in David Sylvian’s SamadhiSound label — the songwriter Elsenburg’s voice hovers delicately. He claims to be singing about love, but we don’t care about the specifics because we’re already lost in the sound. Am I making the whole thing seem a bit vague? Okay: remember how Wilco’s “experimental” album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot turned out to be simply a series of brilliant pop songs? Same thing here. What makes Twice Born Men truly special is the way the indefinable floatiness of the verses is merely the springboard for a succession of delicious pop choruses.
Anthony Bishop, Tim Elsenburg, Alistair Hamer
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