Album Review: Billy the Kid – Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

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If there is one thing contradicting about Billy the Kid‘s new album “Horseshoes & Hand Grenades“, it is the artwork and the lyrics. Whereas the album shows the Canadian singer-songwriter covering her mouth, she does not mince words on her record. And as we do not either, you can read our full review below.

First things first: the album might be the debut on Xtra Mile Recordings, but Billy Pettinger is not the new kid on the block. “Horseshoes & Hand Grenades” is already Pettinger’s seventh solo release. As so, “the Kid” should be used to recording.

Still, the album does not sound like anything else she has previously recorded. It might just be the doing of English folk/punk troubadour and now producer too: Frank Turner. In many ways, “Horseshoes & Hand Grenades” takes somewhat after Turner’s latest album “Tape Deck Heart”. Billy’s acoustic guitar has been brought to the background in multitude of songs, just softly strumming along. This way, production and live experience will be further apart, but it has brought Turner success too.

On the other hand this kind of production gives the album more dimension, as songs where the acoustic guitar are brought out extra (“Quarry“, “This Sure As Hell Ain’t My Life” (featuring Turner), “Chelsea Rose“, “Thoroughfare“) really grab your attention.

Click for bigger picture

Click for bigger picture

1. Phone Bills
2. Riverbank
3. The Satellites + 1
4. Science
5. The Quarry
6. This Sure As Hell Ain’t My Life
7. Chelsea Rose
8. Back To You
9. Virginia
10. Lord Let Me
11. Thoroughfare
12. Walkin’ Around Hotel Blues
13. Young + On Fire

Meanwhile, Billy shares some deep personal stories in these songs. “This Sure As Hell Ain’t My Life”, about feeling trapped and realising you are not living the life you wanted; “Chelsea Rose”, written for her friend Chelsea’s mother (Billy’s godmother), after Chelsea had been murdered; “Young + On Fire“, a story about the perils of her youth.

Turner has definitely shaped and molded “Horseshoes & Hand Grenades”, but left the original form clearly recognisable. Given that, Billy the Kid’s meaning is amplified where it needs to be and brought to basics where intended.


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