In an era when many of us focus solely on college, weekend jobs, and get hammered, Billie has been touring, writing, and recording, all while trying to get her high school diploma.
For someone who has spent much of his recent life traveling the country with others, this record manages to evoke a heartwarming sense of claustrophobia thanks in large part to its four-track tape recording in the Bath house of the producer Ethan John.
Dark vocals, understated guitars, and mellow percussion pedals make up the material from start to finish. If you want privacy, Billie provides it in the bucket.
The raw, adult nature of his words feels safe. For those, like Billie, forging their own path in life, it can provide reassuring measures during difficult times.
Mice is a track where those vocal arms are stretched out around you for massive cwtch. You can sit back and relax as Billie hums around you with her delicate voice casually rising and falling through the carefree chorus.
The thumping percussions of Toulouse make it a more frenzied track which gives the impression that Billie is going on an adventure and wants you by her side. The hopeful choruses are strong but sweet, and show how she can change the strength of her voice in a nanosecond to change emotion.
Everything is not serious and nostalgic either. There are a couple of nice tapping trails included to lighten the mood from deep thinking to life. Blue Sea, Red Sea – although lyrically suspicious – combine a powerful bass with its delicately plucked guitars, and sliding electric elements are added during the chorus to increase the dancing vibrancy of the track.
Betsy’s bigger, healthier feel is a moment when Billie seems to step out of her acoustic bubble and hang out with the world at large.
If she continues in this vain – while perhaps adding more variety as she develops her sound – her bubble could be quite large in a few years.
Billie Marten performs at Birmingham Hare & Hounds on June 5th