Billy Nomates – ‘CACTI’ album review

Billy Nomates CACTI album review

Photo credit: Eddie Whelan

Billy Nomates‘ second studio album, ‘CACTI’, comes out this Friday (13 January) via Invada Records. Recorded in both Tor Maries’ flat and at Invada Studios, the 12 songs find Tor Maries laying everything bare while she confronts some uncomfortable truths that have come to light over the past few years…

‘Balance is Gone’ opens the record in style, a slice of future electro-synth pop that blends the arty stylings of Albertine Sarges with the directness of Sleaford Mods, it finds Tor offering a self-assessment – ‘The state of you, the state of me’ – while examining how it feels to be marginalised. This narrative continues through to ‘Black Curtains in the Bag’ as she talks about a character called John who is a ‘passenger in his own life’. ‘Blue Bones (Deathwish)’ is an honest assessment of breaking free from a doomed relationship and the misery it entails – although the honest lyrics (‘If you really want to go, then I don’t think you should stay here, it’s been a pleasure to lay here next to you’ are delivered against pop hooks Future Islands would be proud of. There’s a slower and more industrial feel on the title track while ‘Saboteur Forcefield’ has an air of sadness as Tor tries to keep on top of the negative thoughts that inevitably creep in when things re going well: ‘I know that nothing’s quite right, it’s just your instinct to fight’.

‘Fawner’ starts in a more reflective tone with acoustic strums and self-depreciating words that again finds Tor thinking back on her past actions and comparing them to others – ‘You know the right words to say in the right order. I put my foot in my mouth’ – before ‘Same Gun’ takes the record back into more boisterous and bouncy territory. ‘Vertigo’ recalls The Rapture with its cowbells and beats, agains wrapped around direct lyrics (‘You wait a long time to love someone who doesn’t love you’) before the album closes in style with the eminently danceable and brilliantly titled ‘Apathy is Wild’ and ‘Blackout Signal;.

‘Cacti’ is an album full of vulnerable moments and a desire to confront and overcome them. Once again, you’ll want to make friends with Billy Nomates.

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