Info: Mr. Billy Fitzgerald is a charming, witty, and self-deprecating champion of 90s R&B rhythms, folksy acoustic guitar, and remarkable harmonies that are informed by the likes of Prince, Beck, and Eels. His debut EP 'An Introduction' was released on April 14th, before commencing a national tour at the end of April that takes in Cork, Belfast, Galway and finally, a show at Whelans, Dublin.
He spent three years in the studio working on the debut EP – completely alone – writing, recording, experimenting and exploring. The outcome is a concoction of old-school drum machines, down-to-earth acoustic guitar, joyous harmonies, and catchy melodies. Billy’s trademark upper-register and sweet, sweet falsetto is layered on top resulting in a liberated take on solo songwriting. 'An Introduction' is the forerunner of Billy’s first long-player due later this year.
The first track on An Introduction, 'Give Me A Chance' is immediately gripping, and buzzes between so many decades and artists in such a confined space that you're still collecting them in your head after the track has ended. It lays the funk on thick, in a most deliciously straight-up manner, and Mr. Billy Fitzgerald's falsetto is indeed quite an incredible medium to lift a song that didn't really need any more lifting up to some wonderful heights. If I was to be an absolute brute I would clumsily put The Doobie Brothers, James Brown and George Clinton into a mixer with Alabama Shakes.
'Old Loves' sees him proffer a slightly different style. This is weird on a purely personal level, as at times it reminds me of a lost track on U2's Achtung Baby or Zooropa, mostly vocally, but also in terms of effects. It's certainly the most 90's sounding track of the three, (and come to think of it there are also echoes of Beck's Morning Phase in here too) and it dawns on you that Fitzgerald doesn't even have to try and sound cool, it's a natural result of his sound.
Third and final track 'Work For It' is a tasty bruiser of a song, following a straight-up pinging drum-pad intro, Fitzgerald gets all honky tonk on our asses á la Creedence Clearwater Revival. With lovely interplay between acoustic, bass and keys, the snapping rhythm and beat providing a seriously uplifting and chaotically enjoyable gospel choir vibe.
It's been a long time since I've heard a collection of tracks where the acoustic guitar is so central yet in the grand scheme of the whole, almost becomes incidental due to the bristling rhythm and nature of the rest of the instruments. I quite simply, really enjoyed An Introduction an awful lot, and tickle me pink, I can't wait for the album to come around now.
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