Tom Billington spent a decade fronting the indie band, Mohair before he turned solo, and now with him currently writing music for Tv, film, theatre etc he is running at full bore. As Luck Would Have It is his second album and such is the quality the future looks most rosy for consummate singer-songwriter. His ability to produce, sharp, snappy poppy songs (‘Devil’s In the Detail’ in a true gem) is excellent. I enjoy his sometimes a little quirky vocals a great deal. Especially when he takes on some Vic Chesnutt tendencies. With the album recorded more or less in four snowy days in East Sussex it possesses spontaneity enough to stop the listener dead in their tracks. Which is rare attribute today and it is one reason is he is so successful; another is he does it on his own terms.
Musicians assisting Billington (acoustic, electric guitar, banjo) you have among others Joe Cooper (drums), Anna Jenkins (violin), Tim Steggals (cello), Judy Manning (viola), Andrew McCrorie Shand (piano, accordion) plus the backing vocals of sisters, The Staves (Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley – Taylor) and there is a spot of brass too.
‘On The Other Side’ is a superb duet performed with Jessica that is loaded with strings and brass section to go with his own banjo; slide guitar (Dave ‘Wildley’ Williams) and wonderful additional female harmonies. Like the slickly paced ‘Starry Skies’ that has her sister, Camilla duet with him like with a few more songs it is both fascinating, innovative and with his unique vocal style posses a feel of carefree adventure.
Though at times, Billington sometimes through his creative flair edge away from what he does best and his vocals are less convincing and like with some of the album’s later tracks it does become a little messy. Exempt from my observation is the grand finale, ‘Dead Cigarettes’ that though it last an amazing ten minutes it remains focussed throughout and that takes some doing, but apparently Tom has no problem!
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