Album #208: Billy Nomates – Billy Nomates

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Bournemouth, England
  • Label: Invada
  • Best Track: Hippy Elite

The first new album on my list today is the self-titled debut from Billy Nomates, whose powerful single ‘No’ caught my attention earlier this year.

Billy Nomates is a project from Bournemouth-based Tor Maries. Going by her singing voice I assumed she was American, but apparently she grew up in Leicester, moved to Bournemouth and recorded this album in Bristol with Portishead’s Geoff Barrow.

In many ways a performance poetry record with post-punk undertones, this definitely sounds Bristolian, channeling the unsettling, dark sound of music associated with the city’s acts.

‘Hippy Elite’ is perhaps the most relatable song I’ve heard all year, bemoaning the how the desire to change the planet for the better is frustrated by the realities of needing to make a living (“If I could only quit my job and join the hippy elite/Hug a tree for me”).

Sleaford Mods ranter Jason Williamson lends his voice to another highlight in ‘Supermarket Sweep’, which is no bad sign given how notoriously selective he is about which acts aren’t shit, and Maries’ Englishness kicks in on probably the rawest cut on the album, ‘Call in Sick’.

Despite one or two iffy tracks (‘Wild Arena’ sounds very similar to ESG’s ‘Moody’), this is a timely and impressive debut that pulls no punches about the mundanity of trying to kept your head above water in today’s Britain.

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