Sunday, January 01, 2023

Billy Tibbals - "Onwards and Upwards"

How about some pop to start the new year? On the next two episodes of Born Too Late WFMU, Alex Kish and I will be playing songs from our favorite releases of 2022. One of Alex's top selections is the debut single from Billy Tibbals, which just came out on this past Friday on Los Angeles–based label Curation Records. I figured a review of this single would be a perfect way for this blog to kick off 2023. "Onwards and Upwards" was co-produced by Reza Martin, drummer in Tibbals' band and also well-known as a member of power pop darlings Uni Boys. Given the Martin connection, you might expect this single to be somewhat comparable to Uni Boys. It definitely is, but Tibbals brings his own style to the modern power pop scene. He's a British expat who moved to Hollywood in 2014, and his love for classic British pop music melds nicely with the mid-'70s power pop vibe you can expect from a Reza Martin production. "Onwards and Upwards" is a punchy, melodious number that has me for some reason imagining The Records if they were fronted by a young Robert Smith. "Lucy," a dramatic tale of an estranged, feuding elderly married couple, suggests the influence of the Beatles and Ray Davies while still coming off as a fresh and original composition. All those who can never get enough timeless pop singles will delight in this 1-2 punch. On his debut release, Billy Tibbals shows an undeniable flair for melody and an engaging vocal style that have me eager to hear more.

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