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Billy Nomates - Cacti (Album Review)

Friday, 13 January 2023 Written by Jack Terry

Photo: Eddie Whelan

It makes perfect sense that Tor Maries’ second record as Billy Nomates is called ‘Cacti’. From the etymology of her stage name—a result of insults directed at her for attending a Sleaford Mods gig alone—to the spit-in-your-face bluntness of her eponymous 2020 debut album, there’s a furious, raucous energy attached to everything she does. 

But if you’re coming into this expecting another collection of songs as spiky as the name suggests, you’re in for a surprise. While many elements remain as they were, ‘Cacti’ is on the whole a more melodious and accomplished display of Maries’ broad repertoire. 

Inspired by lost loves, political disdain, and trauma, Fawner and Roundabout Sadness find Billy Nomates sending shocks like a raw nerve.

The latter’s melancholy lamentation of “I should not have come I do not feel okay” sits at odds with the jaunty fairground fun of the instrumental and perfectly represents the grind of putting on a brave face.

Even on tracks such as Spite, which comes far closer to the talkiness of her prior work, there’s a more full-bodied performance that culminates in a big, cathartic chorus.

“Little boy don’t think you quite understand,” Maries sings. “Don’t you act like I ain’t the fucking man.” It’s still self-assured and rough around the edges, but there’s more to grab onto this time around.

For all the critical acclaim garnered by its predecessor, ‘Cacti’ is an improvement in every area, refining what worked before while adding new strings to her bow. Billy Nomates is shooting for the stars, and her aim is on point.

Billy Nomates Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon April 17 2023 - CARDIFF Tramshed
Wed April 19 2023 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Thu April 20 2023 - MANCHESTER New Century
Fri April 21 2023 - LEEDS Leeds Uni Stylus
Sat April 22 2023 - GLASGOW QMU
Mon April 24 2023 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Boiler Shop
Tue April 25 2023 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Thu April 27 2023 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Fri April 28 2023 - BRIGHTON Chalk
Sat April 29 2023 - BRISTOL Marble Factory
Thu May 04 2023 - WREXHAM Llwyn Isaf (Library Field)

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