Formerly of Ute and The Old Grinding Young, Oxford resident Ollie Thomas’ new project Salvation Bill is one to savour. Equally at home as both a solo project and a four-piece band, Salvation Bill have already supported Stagecoach and Elliott Morris on various dates and are set to play Truck Festival and Spring Offensive’s huge summer show at St. John the Evangelist church in Oxford too.
At a recent show in Guildford, Ollie performed solo, in a Hawaiian shirt, accompanied only by a friendly crow on his shoulder. With a warming sense of humour between songs, people listened intently as he delivered a number of songs that all had a tragic tilt, but retained a sense of humour. Topics covered throughout Salvation Bill songs include the end of the world, jealousy that leads to baking, cannibalism and old-fashioned murder. All are delivered with a highly distinctive voice that knows just the right time to rise and when to remain restrained.
These intriguing narratives bring a gripping literary aesthetic to the sound, one that is ultimately layered and extremely rewarding on repeated listens. Drenched in slow-burning instrumentation that recalls early iLiKETRAiNS with a touch of Nick Cave or even Tom Waits, ‘The Grifter’ tells the story of a house-husband that gets so fed up of modern life that he spirals into something quite sinister, while ‘Nibiru’ is an absorbing effects-laden piece.
You should also definitely check out Salvation Bill’s website to see some quite striking illustrations and ghoulishy good poetry.