This album is possibly one of my favourite albums ever, not because it’s musically perfect or that it defines a genre in any specific way – but because I like every song on it. That’s basically it, each song is a winner and it’s a crime to have not heard it for this reason. The album I’ll be reviewing is Billy Talent’s self-titled album.
Released in 2003, Billy Talent is the second LP from the Canadian band (the first being Watoosh! under the old band name Pezz) and has gone platinum 3 times in their home country of Canada. This is some feat for a band deemed post-hardcore/punk rock, but alas Billy Talent aren’t what you’d expect from either of these genres.
Opening song This Is How It Goes is possibly one of the best opening songs to an album I’ve heard, simply for the almighty noise that hits you when it really kicks in. Little wonder then that the band use this song to open their live shows. Benjamin Kowalewicz’s vocals are simply incredible with his almost supersonic pitch wailing and screaming, songs fuelled with aggression but also other deep emotions which become apparent later into the album. The first single Try Honesty is a slower song than This Is How It Goes and not as ‘shouty’, Kowalewicz shows off his ability to sing as well his screaming skills. This song is a true singalong at any of their live shows, any fan will most likely be able to recite you the lyrics.
Possibly the fastest/angriest song on the album is that of Line And Sinker. Opening with the screams of ‘what you see is what you get’, this song is a great song to drive to if you’re feeling slightly annoyed by something. The drumwork and guitaring on this song too is tremendously tight, the band play so well together it’s obvious they’ve been doing this for many years. The Ex is one of those ‘we can all relate to this’ songs, about one of Kowalewicz’s ex-girlfriends who seemingly screwed him over, and he isn’t very happy about it. The song though has a true singalong chorus, live shows aren’t complete without it. The third song to be released from the album is River Below, which has one of the catchiest tunes you’re likely to hear. Billy Talent definitley know what they’re doing when it comes to writing catchy songs, each one on this album could have been released as a single and done well – simply due to its catchyness.
My favourite track on the album though is Cut The Curtains, the vocals are awesome for lack of a better word. The band play so well on this track, the low-tuned bass in the background gives the song a rather sinister edge despite it’s upbeat tempo. D’Sa throws in a great solo before the breakdown which is a great touch, Billy Talent can pull off breakdown’s with such precision and accuracy you wonder why the album isn’t one big breakdown. The most emotional song on the album is Nothing To Lose which tells the story of a victim of bullying, it was used in a campaign for Kids Help Phone – each time it was played on certain Canadian radio stations, Billy Talent donated $1 to the charity. The song is the slowest on the album and the most emotion-driven, it’s about an important issue and the lyrics are very thought provoking.
The album then is great for anyone looking for some fast singalong tunes or who have an interest in punk rock, this album is a great place to start. Before buying the album listen to; Try Honesty, River Below and Lies.