Billy The Kid “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades”
This is actually Canadian songwriter Billy The Kid’s fourth album but perhaps the one coming with an added sense of anticipation. This is partly due to the fact it is produced by the wonderful Frank Turner who also appears on the album alongside The Sleeping Souls drummer Nigel Powell. It is also being released on Xtra Mile Recordings a label with some brilliant releases and artists on it. Against this background, it is perhaps not surprising that the first single “Back To You” has picked up radio play.
Those expecting some kind of punk/folk troubadour style may well be surprised with opener “Phone Bills”. It is a far more polished rock song with a great pop hook. It has an almost AOR sound, that could even appeal to fans of Haim. It’s followed by “River Bank” which has a softer, Fleetwood Mac sound and both these songs could quite easily achieve chart success. Things do get a bit ‘rockier’ and more angular on “ The Satellites and I” which also has a more introspective feel.
We then get a bit of a country twang added on “The Science” which is actually very reminiscent of another great young female artist, Lydia Loveless. That feeling continues with “This Sure As Hell Aint My Life” that is until it is interrupted by the unmistakable voice of Mr Turner himself. The duet works really well with the vocals delivered against the back drop of a delicate melody. “Chelsea Rose” is more of a ballad and is full of emotion and tenderness. It is a style which is repeated later on with the track “Thorough Fare”.
The pace is picked up again with the single “Back To You” which is another great pop/rock anthem. As is “Lord Let Me “, although this time there is more of a punk rock grit to the sound. Whilst “Virginia” is a subtle but powerful song, which again has a great ‘countrified’ melody. The whole album then sadly come to an end with “Young And On Fire” which is a poignant and slowly strummed song.
This isn’t the raw folk punk that is associated with Frank Turner’s early work, but instead comes across as a more mainstream and certainly more confident rock artist. That’s not in a ‘sold out’ or unauthentic way but just in terms of delivering an album with a big pop/rock feel about it. There is certainly a sense that with the right exposure it could be a huge hit. Importantly, any success would be deserved as it’s a great record which perfectly balances being earnest with still being brilliantly enjoyable.