I was barely 30 seconds in on the first track on the new album from Billy and Dolly, "Sunlight From Another Life", when I knew I was hearing something unique. From the Glitter Band-stomp to the faint hints of recent Blonde Redhead records, the tune here was unearthly and thoroughly unsettling. The cut, the first on the band's newest release, Five Suns, out on Friday via Shit Krystal, is, like so much here, music that draws from the past -- Zep hooks, proggy flourishes, etc. -- to make selections that sound like something from the future.
If the gentler "Please" suggests a debt owed to the Swingin' Sixties, and "Everything is Off" one owed to Tom Petty, lots else here indicates the influence of late-period Primal Scream ("Just Wrong"), or any number of proto-shoegaze acts ("Marooned"). Similarly, "Bobby" is eerie electro-pop with flashes of "No Quarter" sprinkled throughout its grooves, while "Setting Sun" chugs with enough force to earn favorable comparisons to early numbers from The Cult, of all things. Still, the parts I liked the most on Five Suns were the glammy bits, when San Francisco duo Bill Rousseau and Dahlia Gallin Ramirez sounded like they were on the same wavelength as Luke Haines on some of his recent releases.
If this San Francisco duo seem to be channeling lots here on Five Suns, they are doing it with ease and making the results sound entirely natural. As such, while Five Suns echoes worthy forebears from the past, it remains a record of stunning originality, and odd beauty.
[Photo: Andres Ramirez]