We’re all suckers for a story and Billy Reeves’ tale has it all. In and around the indie scene from the mid-80’s, he ended up forming the Theaudience with Sophie Ellis-Bextor as the soil of Britpop was falling over it’s head: they disintegrated messily following Glastonbury in 1998. Fate then very much got in the way three years later, when driving home from an early Darkness gig his car was hit by speeding joyriders and he was put in a coma from which he eventually recovered, but at the cost of much of his pre-crash memory.
After a rehabilitaiton which included regaining the ability to walk, Reeves would then retrain as a journalist and broadcaster before the chance discovery of a mini-disc of old demo material began the restoration project he snappily entitled The Helicopter of The Holy Ghost. Recruiting the likes of Simon Raymonde and Mark Morriss to collaborate on Afters, he’s admitted that these are songs which he has no memory of writing, or even who they were penned for. This hazily sketched world however suits them perfectly.
For Morriss’ part he sounds revitalised, bringing a poignancy to End of Loneliness and I Will Never Hurt that’s heart-tuggingly sad but never resorts to melodrama. These aren’t the only moods: Tony Got a Car sprawls psychedelically across nine minutes, whilst the chiming Hangar Lane Gyratory System 4.44 A.M. is enigmatic dream pop and Difficult Song is a lost Bluetones tune from their absolute peak. We all have stories. Billy Reeves may not recognise these faces in the mirror, but Afters is a record in quality that defies by ratio the outrageous odds of it ever being made.
You can read the full review here.