EP: Billy Vincent – Once On The Grand Union
October 17th, 2011
Bands like Billy Vincent are a bit of a rarity these days, with every Tom, Dick and Harry in a band able to utilise the Internet to reach more people than ever before. While in many ways this is great, there’s also the result of an endless conveyor belt of similar bands. So, when a band who are genuinely bringing a unique sound of their own to the table emerge, it’s a very pleasant surprise. Billy Vincent‘s folk meets pop-punk style may not sound particularly ground breaking, but their songs speak volumes.
It’s difficult to pin the band down with comparisons to others, but they sit somewhere between being the emo-pop cousins of crazy gypsie punks Gogol Bordello and the band that Panic! At The Disco have always wanted to be. From the openings of the EP’s first track ‘St. Catherine’s Oratory’, with its delicate violin, the band’s diverse musicality immediately comes into play. The EP is full of fantastic flourishes from trumpets to harmonicas, and results in a superb theatrical tone for the duration. While the band’s folk leanings allow comparisons to other band such as the Mumford & Sons-esque ‘Through Stations To Trains’, the smooth vocals of singers Billy Barratt and David Vincent plus appearances of pounding drums and bouncy riffs share more in common with the likes of Kids In Glass Houses and You Me At Six. All this culminates in the EP’s finest moment: the soaring closer, ‘Truly’. It’s a song that builds and builds, to the point that it feels like a colossal carnival is being pumped through your headphones.
Things don’t always run so smoothly though. When the band start to tread into ballad territory on ‘Young Hearts’, the results don’t quite deliver the desired effect. What is meant to connect as a sweet twee number limps along as a second rate pop snooze fest. The band’s emo sensibilities come into play, sounding more like a forgotten X-Factor winner’s single than the heady mix of genres that grace the rest of the EP.
On the whole though, what Billy Vincent have released is a great EP that delivers something interesting, fresh and above all fun. There are plenty of memorable moments on here that could see Billy Vincent popping up all over radio and gaining many fans in the process. It may be worth keeping an eye on this lot, as come 2012 they could be making quite a stir.
Written by Gavin Lloyd