SONS OF BILL
Album review: "Sirens"
By Catherine P. Lewis
Friday, Mar. 23, 2012
The band name Sons of Bill is a literal one - the Charlottesville quintet features three brothers - pianist/banjo player Abe and guitarists James and Sam - all of whom are the sons of a man named Bill Wilson. Not surprisingly, the brothers' vocal synergies add a lot to the twangy brand of guitar-driven alt-rock showcased on their third album, "Sirens." The choruses of "Find My Way Back Home" are especially warm, thanks to the brothers' harmonies.
Beyond the vocals, though, the most notable quality of the quintet's music is its easiness. These laid-back, catchy tunes evoke the effortlessness of a sunny afternoon on a country porch. The lyrics of "Radio Can't Rewind" touch on the futility of dwelling in the past, but its breezy vocals and lilting guitar melody command listeners to live in the moment. Even the fierce emotions on "Angry Eyes" seem to melt away in the song's reflective, storytelling tone.
The group certainly knows how to keep the album moving. Even such slower songs as "Last Call at the Eschaton" have a forward-driving momentum. Still, the best moments are the catchy, up-tempo numbers: "Siren Song" and "Santa Ana Winds," which blend the toe-tapping drive of a radio hit with the charm of a memorable narrative.