There mere thought of another opus from a male singer songwriter is usually enough to induce panic in a battle hardened reviewer. Will I be able to think of something to say about yet another identikit album of self-indulgence and mediocrity? Then again, there is always the hope that I will hear an album of lovingly assembled musical vignettes and, fortunately, Tom Billington’s album “As Luck Would Have It” is one such album.
Of course, Tom Billington is hardly beginner at the music business game but his love for his craft is self evident. Not for him the simple route of one man and his guitar as that clearly would not fit his musical vision. Instead, he has seasoned his songs – and they are, perhaps unsurprisingly, sentimental songs – with a variety of musical matched spices. “Poet Princess” would be saccharine in less careful hands but here is an almost magical musical ode with the violin of Anna Jenkins providing a beautifully judged Celtic flavoured zing. “On the Other Side of the Night” is a similarly impressive confection that, aided by the subtle duetting with Jessica Staveley-Taylor, would easily satisfy the hunger of any Arcade Fire fan. That duetting approach is revisited in “Starry Skies” – with Camilla Staveley-Taylor this time – and that proves equally successful in its execution.
With so much to choose from, it was hard to pick out a favourite song. Nonetheless, it is a task that has to be done and I duly went for the wondrously melodramatic “Is It You?”. That masterful song is as big as a house.
The thing that most impressed me about this album though was the all pervading sense of fun which says to me that Tom Billington is a man on a mission and, whilst doing what he does for the love of it, is still taking the job seriously enough to do it well. Respect is due and duly given.