Back in 2019, we got our hands on the debut release from English singer-songwriter Bill Newton, performing under the moniker Psykobilly. We found Black Candle to be “utterly unique. Endearingly rough around the edges. Adventurous. A real indie-music accomplishment“.
This year, Newton is back with another full-length album. Teaming up with Phil Sorrell – founder of Caretaker Studios – and his arranging, performing, producing, and mastering skills, alongside Sorrell’s daughter Isabelle, John Donegan, and Newton’s daughter Beth for backing vocals, the resulting project Patron Saint of Nothing is a musical journey through a multitude of genres and styles, tied together by songs laced with meaning and authenticity.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Opening with (Kerouac Said) Everything’s Fine, we start this album on a bright, uptempo note. With its endlessly catchy non-lexical vocable line and almost cheery timbre combined with some dramatic synths and strings, this has a particularly cinematic feel.
Ballad of an Exile has a grab-you-by-the-collar horns section that commands your attention from the opening measures, but it settles into an almost surf-rock beat as it progresses. Its simplistic melody leaves plenty of room for the powerful harmonies and backing vocals from Isabelle to shine.
We get a bit of that dark pop flavor on Sacred Veil. Its ghostly intro and delicate acoustic guitar sections give way to an almost bluesy, Americana-esque chorus.
A callback to Black Candle, we find Five Thousand Feelings #2 (Secret Weapon Mix) on this album. Sonically, this duet number diverges pretty significantly from the #1 version (a gravelly and soulful psych-blues number), with its soaring high notes and anthemic-ballad feel. This also might be the strongest showing of Isabelle’s vocals on this project as well – they’re powerful, clear, and strong, and truly delightful addition to this track.
Another stand out is THRILL U KILL U – this is true electronic music. Built on a base of rapid-fire layers of synth melodies, dark lyrics, and transformational vocal effects, this track is intricate and captivating: “Kiss kiss your pretty lips, you make me wanna thrill you sometimes. Kiss kiss my nemesis, you make me wanna kill you sometimes.” Is techno-horror a genre? If it wasn’t before, it is now.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
There’s so much to like about Whydoeseverythinghavetomeansomething?. The song has such a sunny, joyful disposition, and a bouncy, generally easygoing rhythm. But lyrically, it takes quite a stab at some fairly serious issues plaguing society right now. There are quite a few great one-liners here, most notably “Instagram and bloggers are the cancer of our conscious spreading everywhere” and “clinical depression everybody’s on the spectrum need to medicate“. Relevant, conscious, and musically well-executed – this track checks all the boxes.
Bill Newton continues down his path of individuality and originality on this release and cements his incredibly wide artistic range. Call it anything you like – electronic, pop, blues, techno, rock – but know that Patron Saint of Nothing doesn’t fit inside the confines of any one genre box. With its wide array of instrumentation and unwavering ability to work outside the borders of expectation, this album is wholly and refreshingly both unique and distinctive. This is the kind of music that makes a name like Psykobilly one to remember – we’d be willing to bet there are many more great artistic releases like this one to come from this project, and we’ll be looking forward to each and every one.
BELOW: Listen to Patron Saint of Nothing by Psykobilly and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Psykobilly by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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