Billy Dechand | Hold On

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Pop: Quirky Rock: Modern Rock Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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Hold On

by Billy Dechand

In the grand tradition of excellent British songwriting, here is a vast range of styles, maintaining a singular voice and unique sonic vision. Beautiful, angry, funky, thoughtful.
Genre: Pop: Quirky
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Such Simple Love
2:36 $0.89
2. Beautiful
3:48 $0.89
3. Sometimes Why
4:53 $0.89
4. Scratch That Itch
4:07 $0.89
5. Gus
4:02 $0.89
6. Sweet Sweet Day
4:39 $0.89
7. Push
3:48 $0.89
8. Just a Dream
4:16 $0.89
9. Evil I
4:18 $0.89
10. Beautiful Day
2:46 $0.89
11. Just One Smile
3:05 $0.89
12. Garbage
3:22 $0.89
13. Yes is for Why
4:18 $0.89
14. From the Sky
5:10 $0.89
15. Hold On
2:05 $0.89
16. Such Simple Love (demo)
2:32 $0.89
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Billy Dechand's fourth CD, Hold On, mixes local Chapel Hill and New York attitudes. Recorded in both locations with musicians from both scenes, the CD blends indie rock, inventive pop, and rural roots with a warm vibe and vision. Guest musicians include Matt Schickele, Paul Whetstone, Jesse Richards, members of The Malarkies, My Dear Ella, Three Torches, SeepeopleS, Eyes to Space and Extreme Badasses.

Comparisons to records by Beck, Neil Young, Elliot Smith, Flaming Lips, XTC, The Beatles, Talking Heads, The Band, and Guided by Voices may be tempting, depending on the song:

Such Simple Love (2:37) Haunting wash of guitars set to a Thomas McGrath poem.

Beautiful (3:48) Catchy pop song with chunky rhythm guitars.

Sometimes Why (4:54) Plaintive, melodic, and melancholy appeal to ask why so many people have their heads up their asses.

Scratch That Itch (4:07) Swampy, upbeat tune with funky Rhodes and slide guitar.

Gus (4:03) Straight-ahead rock song about a can-do bus driver.

Sweet Sweet Day (4:40) Piano-based song with earthy blues-gospel beat that ends up transcendence.

Push (3:49) Strange and funky tune humorously mixing English and French, featuring a heavy dose of baritone sax.

Just a Dream (4:17) Sad acoustic bass and piano ballad with a broad, sweeping chorus.

Evil I (4:18) Beatlesque pop tune with big warm psychedelic sound.

Beautiful Day (2:47) Childhood meditation that starts with just guitar and voice, then blossoms into pedal steel, marimba, and mandolin.

Just One Smile (3:06) Sweet love song, proudly free of all irony.

Garbage (3:23) Brit-pop/Motown toe-tapper about the Chapel Hill dump.

Yes Is for Why (4:18) Instrumental: not quite jazz, or anything else.

From the Sky (5:10) Billy's grand lament about 9-11 and his nation's reaction. It travels through fear and optimism, ending at an aurora of floating sounds.

Hold On (2:05) Short and sweet with gentle piano and male-female harmonies.

Such Simple Love (demo) (2:32) Billy's original 4-track demo. Lo-fi but loveable.



to write a review

John Lane - Ear Candy

Hold On - Why Isn't Billy Dechand A Household Name?
Every so often, a musician comes along whom you swear that in an alternate reality is already A Big Name and that this reality is impoverished for not knowing him or her. Billy Dechand is such a name, and it's high time that people get with the program. There seems to be an odd imbalance in music cultures, specifically when you examine the differences between the USA and the UK. How is it that the UK can allow the big-littles like Andy Patridge, Paddy McAloon, and Sean O'Hagan to thrive, but meanwhile in this country you would be hard-pressed to dip your hand into the artistic waters and pull up three similar examples? Billy Dechand should be among those names that one pulls up to represent the home team.

The late 2003 release of his fourth album, Hold On, means that this disc is still fresh produce as far as its placement on the market shelf. Allow me to say upfront, as well, that Dechand possesses the kind of singing voice that immediately grabs me; it's the case of "This guy could sing the telephone book, and I'd still be captivated." At turns, his tone is husky, smooth, plaintive, and jocular, but always honest in however he approaches his subject matter.

The album's opener is "Such Simple Love", a poem by Thomas McGrath set to music, which might seem like a dark way for a disc to kick off - but Dechand makes it work by putting one in the moment with the eerie, after-dark sweeping sound of guitars. To me, it's the sound of an insomniac, sorting out the age-old problems of personal love and how society seems to perceive love (cheaply). Highly evocative on the first go-out.

Conversely, Billy Dechand knows when to switch gears. "Scratch That Itch" takes lyrical contortions to a new level, not really seen since Andy Patridge's Black Sea days. Nods should also go to Dechand's band, who cook a groove that begs to be heard live, not just within the constraints of a disc. Pop and funk seamlessly spill out from the bass and drums. For further smiles, there's also "Gus", about a good-time bus driver who (I think) likes to hit the gas pedal a little harder than usual, much to the awe of the narrator. Gus joins the pantheon of great fictional song characters, like McCartney's Uncle Albert, Rita the Meter Maid, Desmond and Molly Jones, etc.

And since I've raised the specter of McCartney, it should be noted that "Sweet Sweet Day" is one of the finest songs ever written, that I bet McCartney wishes he had. In the manner of full-frontal gospel blues, Dechand sings in true-blue emotive fashion to sterling piano accompaniment. The lyrical content is both uplifting and sad, although deceptively it just seems to be about a short stroll. But what subtle artistic genius! Sometimes the deepest, most profound thoughts (and melodies!) come from those innocuous strolls or bus rides.

The whole experience of Hold On is like hanging out and talking with an old pal. The conversation takes twists and turns from deeply dark and personal to goofy. When Dechand gets around to releasing his phonebook album, I'll purchase that, too. If you can't wait for that album, then go down the line and scoop up the rest of his catalog. His World Famous in Chapel Hill album also features the rock-solid tune coupled with vicious, dead-on commentary titled "Flip the Switch" (a video of which is available somewhere on the 'net).

Impact Press

complex, well written, and well performed
This is one of those wonderful discs which simply defy classification. On the mellow side, the songs are complex, well written, and well performed. Gentle melodies glide you through this disc, weaving seamlessly from song to song. This is a really great disc.