A cleverly crafted blend of new and old
Like the time-travelling optometrist in American author Kurt Vonnegut’s book Slaughterhouse Five who gets abducted by aliens that Sweet Billy Pilgrim are named after, ‘Crown and Treaty’ is all about straddling eras. They sound simultaneously new and old. First come the floaty countryside textures on ‘Blakefield Gold’, reminiscent of old-timers like Nick Drake. Second come singer-songwriter Tim Elsenburg’s cracked vocals, aping ‘Sea Change’-era Beck on the album’s centrepiece ‘Blood Is Big Expense’. Third comes the hyper-detailed production of an REM record. You can hear many cymbal crashes, because this is cleverly crafted, dramatic stuff.