By Matt Craig Burke
Sweet Billy Pilgrim drunkingly starts off Motorcade Amnesiacs with “Candle Book and Bell.” Its distorted guitars, clambering pianos, and stumbling drums makes you feel as though you just stumbled into a smokey cigar bar. Hazy and still intoxicated, “FFwd to the Freeze Frame” rips out crunchy guitars, accompanied by accented snare hits that create an uneasy feel similar to 90’s prog-rock band, Shellac as bogging horns add girth to the track. “Make it So” sobers you a bit with its subtleness, joined by mumbled vocals and minimalist arrangement that carries the verses giving it a similar sound to The National. “Slingshot Grin” utilizes Anthony Bishop’s smokey blues voice, while Jana Carpenter adds estrogen into the mix with her demanding country-like vocals. “Tyrekickers” lassos some more of Carpenter’s soft and twangy pipes, which pairs well to the heart-wrenching piano along with a tantalizing chorus that makes you want to buy a cowboy hat and move to Nashville.
The album starts to have a certain art-rock theme, but some parts of the album almost seem like a different band. Songs like “Just Above Midtown” throw you off. It has a great cheesy 80’s dance feel that contains stomping funk bass, palm-muted guitars, and layered drum machine tracks that pitter patter. After dancing around, Sweet Billy Pilgrim slows the album down and pulls your heart strings with “Chasing Horses.” The soothing vocals and gentle guitar picking takes you on a ride through an open valley by horseback. Continuing the mellowness, the slow progression and moments of bliss from “Longstreth” sounds like a b-side to David Bowie’s 2002 album, Heathen. Motorcade Amnesiacs’ stand out track and aphrodisiac is, “We Just Did What Happened and Nobody Came” sounding so bluesy euphoric, as it has you closing your eyes and snapping your fingers. Its soaring vocals sounding so dirty, yet so clean.
At times, Motorcade Amnesiacs feels a bit awkward, but it has a genuine and honest tone that makes you think Sweet Billy Pilgrim created it with nobody in mind but themselves, respectively. Musically, the album has a lot to offer with its genre bouncing awesomeness. It just doesn’t seem to reach mass appeal, but it doesn’t seem like Sweet Billy Pilgrim cares, and thats refreshing.