I used to be pretty smug about my Billie the Vision & The Dancers standom, on some “Hah, the wider world isn’t yet ready to embrace a mixed-race transvestite tweepop act featuring nobody called Billie and a chick who looks like Jessica Stevenson’s corpse, I am soooooo liberal” tip. But then they went and had a #1 hit in Spain off the back of a beer commercial, and I kinda felt like the legions of fans who’d supported Bran Van 3000 through the underground must have felt at the turn of the previous decade. Happy that they’re getting paper, a little annoyed that fucking with this music doesn’t make me special.
I think BtV&tDs are special, I’m not 100% sure. They’re precious, certainly: this isn’t your disarming Glaswegian mumble school of twee, it’s straight outta Stockholm with songs about “a crazy night in Oslo” with The Pipettes (you remember, they did that cover of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”), a song that namechecks Bree Van de Kamp, and endless references to a fictitious character called Pablo: Wes Anderson injected with Sunny Delight.
They work best when they’re downbeat, though. “There's Hope For Anyone” is just a wondrous plea bargain from a man who’s corrected his mistakes and can’t see why someone wouldn’t take him back. “Lily, look at my hands, I am not shaking anymore”. “I am willing to change, and I would pledge my hands to get back to you somehow”. “Lily, look at my bank account, I am not gambling any more”, a line that especially rings true for anyone who has wished terminal illnesses on Kieron Fallon’s immediate family at any point this decade, all spread over a track that sounds like the music Tullycraft would make if they were real people. Let’s just hope they’ve invested that beer cash wisely, they deserve a comfortable retirement after making tracks like this.
[Album: Where The Ocean Meets My Hand]