If – as it is often said – pictures tell tales, then the album cover of Sweet Billy Pilgrims ‘Crown and Treaty‘ speaks volumes: on the one hand there is the ancient patina of an old manor crossed by modern wires, on the other hand there is the majestic pictures of an old emperor, printed on a new book cover. The same ambivalence can be found in the nine tracks of the captivating new album by singer/songwriter Tim Elsenburg and his exceptional pals. Their songs are partly soothing tales of wisdom and uplifting melancholy as in Blakefield Gold or Blue Sky Falls, partly with its amazingly colorful tone painting and passion for detail their music reminds one of the glorious records of REM or Nick Drake.
“Strike a match and throw it into the dark“
They kept the choice of instruments simple, mostly using acoustic guitar, drums, bass and accordion to leave enough room for the finely tuned singing of Tim Elsenburg and Jana Carpenter. All this is underlaid by Elsenburg’s deep lyrics of which each line seems to teach those who listen a little more about life and its struggles. Considering how the band first started playing together in 2003 this seems hardly surprising; for them, the music simply was a form of therapy to get over the death of Elsenburg’s brother. Since 2003 they’ve come a long way: they self-produced 3 albums and were shortlisted for the 2009 Mercury Prize. Watch out for them, as they will still go far!