Bradley J. Sime’s Willow sounds like it has trickled out of the doors of a small town’s community hall while a dance is going on. The music is being blasted through an antiquated PA system because that was the only audio equipment lying around – it’s riddled with feedback and covered in a dust like that on the PA system itself. The sounds float through the warm summer air as you ride your bike past the hall as quickly as possible so nobody sees you and invites you in to dance.
“It’s the Livin'” has a classic country drawl to it as Sime’s plunks away at a piano, with the overwhelming reverb and Sime’s using a gruffer vocal style “Creature from Old Squmpee” is shrouded in darkness, and “Elephant Blues,” is a psychedelic little folk tune that’s, suitably, scattered with the sound of elephants trumpeting. On “Custom PlayStation 2,” Sime might have become the first person to write a song about the PS2. The track ticks along with an electronic beat almost reminiscent of that chugging sound the PS2 used to make when it was loading.
Willow highlight “Midnight in the Desert” is a spooky and soulful country song. The moonlight seemingly calms the dust storm of the rest of the album so Sime is at his clearest and subsequently most emotionally engaging as the wails of his harmonica mirror that of a lonesome wolf and Sime croons, “tonight we’ll just stay here/you sleep and I’ll sing.”
On “Home of the Jokes,” Sime’s voice is warped to an unnerving pitch as he tells a wild story about a joke gone wrong at a baseball game while an organ-like keyboard dances around in the background, concluding the world of Willow is a weird and wild one.
Top Track: “Midnight in the Desert”
Rating: Young Hoot (Decent)