Album review: 'Full Tilt Bozo' by BillyImrieSmith

Full Tilt Bozo


The first song, “Trust Me, I Know What I’m Doing” is a lovely introduction to the album. It feels very open and sincere and the arrangement is full of catchy hooks, intensity changes and other interesting tidbits. I really like the use of delay in the song and particularly in the bridge. It glues together really nicely.

“Takes One To Know One” has a similar feel to it. It feels very free and has a distant britpop vibe to it. One thing is for sure, BillyImrieSmith really knows how to write songs, because this is another exciting arrangement.

The third song on the album, “Love is Grief”, is yet another example of excellent songwriting. The song starts out with lower vocals and then takes a couple of jumps before going full blast. I love the constant changes in intensity - it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but personally I’m easily bored with punkrock-like songs, so I’m very impressed.

The next song is called “Ghost” and is quite a bit different from the first three songs. The title suggests a darker song and that is exactly what it is, although the chorus goes back to the familiar intensity. Both the atmosphere and lyrics are darker, but beautifully crafted.

To get away from this darker feel, we transition into a new song with a bit of an odd name: “100423”. The vibe of the song isn’t as dark, but I can’t say the same about the lyrics. As with most songs on this album, there is a depth in the lyrics that I can’t really explain here: you’ll have to listen for yourself.

The intro for “Hell of a Year” is so unexpected after 100423. It feels oddly happy, where it takes a different turn and turns into a song that feels very personal. I am not entirely sure if it’s happy or sad, and it might be a lot of both. It doesn’t matter, but anyone who’s had emotional rollercoaster years will find something familiar in it. It’s really, really from the heart.

When we go ahead to the seventh song on the album, “Wherever We Go Next”, the style of the album’s beginning seems to come back. The vocals are a bit more melodic, but the guitars and drums give me a similar vibe.

“One Last Time” is an odd ball. It starts out pretty bluesy and is definitely very different from what I’ve listened to so far on this album. Once we reach the chorus though, the (now) familiar style of BillyImrieSmith returns and the chorus really pops. I’m not a huge fan of the guitar solo over the verse though. Although it’s very common practice to have guitar in blues while you’re singing, but I feel like it could have had a bit more call and response, instead of the guitar playing through the vocals.

“Letter From My Younger Self” is another great song. The structure is a bit more straightforward and compared to some of the other songs on the album, is not necessarily noteworthy. But again, the lyrics are just really pure and honest.

The title song, “Full Tilt Bozo”, feels like everything comes together. For some reason I feel desperation, hope, sadness but also happiness. It feels like taking a trip through the artist’s mind. And the artist’s mind is apparently fueled by a bit done by Robin Williams: you’ve got to go full tilt bozo, ‘cause you’re only given a little spark of madness, and if you lose that, you’re nothing. I know it’s a sketch, but there is an essence of truth in it that BillyImrieSmith recognised and worked with. Artists inspiring artists.

Listening to this album front to back was a journey and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I cannot urge you enough to do the same: take your time, close your eyes, pay attention to the lyrics and let the music take you places.

You can also find "Trust Me, I Know What I'm Doing" (along with other great songs and artists) on our Editor's Picks playlist.


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