The name of the artist and subsequently this album came about from a passing comment from a stranger at a Sleaford Mods gig last year. A bit harsh but it feels fitting for Tor Maries who’s given us an album which is singular of vision and of its time. Prior to the album, tracks were posted on Bandcamp and came to the attention of Sleaford Mods and Geoff Barrows. Invada Records signed her and Geoff Barrows produced this release.
Tor’s musical background was playing in bands in Bristol in her twenties. In interviews she has said of her need to produce her own music rather than being in a band. The album comes out of a period of personal challenge and tumult and is delivered into a world where today may well be different from tomorrow, let alone next week or month. As an artist in their early thirties, we get a worldview which is fiery and honest but with experiences earned rather than heard. Young enough to care and old enough to know what this means and what can be changed and what might be changed.
The Billy Nomates sound is Lo Fi Electronic meets Guitars and Drums. The songs deal with crap jobs (Supermarket Sweep), deadend nostalgia (Happy Misery) and reductive views and representation of womanhood (No) amongst other issues relating to the day to day. The delivery much of the time, like Sleaford Mods, can be described as sprechgesang; somewhere between singing and speaking. In terms of a vocal timbre you can hear Pop and American influences which gives the album a different feel. Jason Williamson guests on Supermarket Sweep.
Sleaford Mods comparisons are valid as there is a verbal dexterity and crafted way with lyrics to describe the mundane but as they are delivered in a way they could be played prime time on Radio 1 as much as on 6 Music. Whilst I’d love Jolly F*cker or Jobseeker to be on whilst I eat my cornflakes, I’m not holding my breath. Saying Pop can be viewed as a slight but in this instance it’s worth saying as it allows tracks like Hippy Elite to be heard by more listeners.
A concise album in terms of its duration, a little over thirty minutes and its songs mostly under three minutes, its ambition lies in what’s being said. A new voice that demands to be heard sooner rather than later.
Billy Nomates? Not for long.
Billy Nomates is released on Invada Records
Billy Nomates is supporting Sleaford Mods at their 100 Club streamed gig, 12th September https://www.sleafordmods.com/live
Billy Nomates UK tour is scheduled for February 2021
Article by Chris Hibberd