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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A five star triumph, 30 April 2012
This review is from: Crown and Treaty (Audio CD)
Crown and Treaty, the third offering from Sweet Billy Pilgrim, takes all of the best of them -- the narrative craft and the mournful beauty -- adds a massive shot of confidence, and opens the sound out into a far greater space. And the result is nothing short of staggering.

From the opening woodwind bursts -- like revellers being corralled into a wedding photo -- this is a looser, more open album than its predecessor, the Mercury nominated Twice Born Men. The band sounds bigger and bolder. There is a greater range of ambition, and a vitality and joy that floods the record with energy. These songs are adventures. The band, secure in its essence, happily doffing its collective cap to folk, soul and indie rock -- and delivering a wonderfully coherent set of songs with a confidence and level of accomplishment that is unapologetically brilliant.

With this album, Sweet Billy Pilgrim strides as well as shuffles.

Tim Elsenburg is fast establishing himself as a songwriter of rare ability. This is exquisite craftsmanship. Though drawing from a wider palette, there is still nothing extraneous here. Not a word is wasted, or easy, and the same is true for the arrangements. There is a beautiful new female vocal that benefits the whole -- and is not overplayed -and a lightness of touch that belies the level of detail and musicianship at work, as the listener is time and again moved effortlessly up into magnificent sweeps that are just breathtaking.

Rightly given `instant classic' status by Mojo magazine, Sweet Billy Pilgrim have pulled off the feat of creating an album of songs that people will sing, without sacrificing their identity or artistic integrity in the process. With any justice, this will give them the audience they deserve; Crown and Treaty is a triumph.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Album of the Year, 23 Nov 2012
This review is from: Crown and Treaty (Audio CD)
Quite simply astounding. This album is incredible from start to finish. It is full of songs you will be singing to yourself after listening to it and ends on a great note.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Took a while but now smitten, 3 Jan 2013
By 
Mr. Stephen H. Lyall (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crown and Treaty (Audio CD)
Wasn't sure at first whether I concurred with all the good things I had heard and read about this album. I had seen the album featured in several publications but was put off slightly by the album cover and band name specifically because it gave me an erroneous impression of the type of artist and music it may contain (a bit shallow I know). Even on listening to tracks off of this and Twice born men I was initially intrigued but not fully sold. I was not really sure that I particularly liked Tim Elsenburg's voice either which is very distinctive. I am so glad I persevered and took heed of the various reviews I had read because the music is all engrossing and the vocal is a perfect fit. It is an album that needs to be listened to with no distractions and contains plenty of high points. It is a real grower and the songs do stick in your mind so don't give it up on first impressions. The music is quite moving in places and the songs are well constructed - you can tell that a lot of work has gone into them to achieve the perfect end result. Certainly more accessible than Twice born men but strangely I love the undulating variety (and I suppose strangeness) of that album too. You could do worse than buy them both. Incidentally saw them recently (just prior to Christmas) as a threesome performing an acoustic set. They were engaging, vocally brilliant and possess a real talent.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Crown and anchor me', 30 April 2012
By 
P. Cottom "petercottom" (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crown and Treaty (Audio CD)
Every now and again an album release shatters all my expectations and re-sets the bar. Here's one.

Although a regular on my players, I think I was intrigued more than anything by Twice Born Men and consequently found myself looking forward with great anticipation to Crown and Treaty, waiting to see what he'd do next, hoping that it would be a real development. I need not have worried - it's a giant leap forward. Initially impressive and readily accessible with interesting chord progressions, particularly Kracklite, searing melodies and strong hooks, it rewards repeated listening to reveal the full effect of the lush harmonies and dense instrumentation which give it such a broad soundscape. Thoughtful, intelligent lyrics only add to the overall impact and experience.

It's a natural development from Twice Born men, much more cohesive, and with less of the fragility and Sylvian-esque twitchyness (and I'm a big DS fan).
I'd sort of compare this progression to Aqualung's organic development through his albums. I know we like to see what other artists people think someone sounds like - it helps us pitch a point of reference. I'd go along with most of the artists mentioned in various other reviews, but would stress The Blue Nile and add Colin Vearncombe (as possibly the closest vocally), Aqualung and Everything Everything.

Standouts? Joyful Reunion, Archeology, Blakefield Gold.....actually you've just got to listen to it all. Blue Sky Falls rounds the album off with absolute perfection in all it's anthemic majesty. Trouble is - you won't be able to resist the temptation to play the whole album again. Wonderful stuff!

"Senior Kracklite, do you dream?" Oh yes.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grinning Like An Insane Idiot, 22 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Crown and Treaty (Audio CD)
I hadn't heard of SBP until May this year and stumbled across them when I was doing my weekly troll of Amazon, ITunes etc.

I'm the first to admit I'm not the greatest reviewer and there are many good reviews on this group, so I will just say this, when I'm In a dark place or I want to be happy I put this CD on and find myself between SMUG and SMILING/GRINNING and to quote one of the reviewers I think of how ACHINGLY BEAUTIFUL this CD Is.

I have been collecting music some 55 years, since I was 14 and I would happily put this Into my TOP TEN ALBUMS.

Cheers Everybody
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BELIEVE THE HYPE - THIS TIME IT'S TRUE!!!!, 2 May 2012
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This review is from: Crown and Treaty (Audio CD)
Yeah to all the five star reviews, I've played this album 5-6 times straight today and can't get enough of it - this band are very special.

All three albums are great - We Just Did What Happened and Nobody came in 2005 and Twice Born Men, Mercury nominated in 2009, and this the follow-up, and it is dazzling. Twice Born Men was rough around the edges but beautiful, experimental soundscapes embellishing Tim Elsenburg's brilliantly original songwriting. This by comparison is more polished and should - if there's any justice and if word of mouth does it's job - gain them a massive fan base. I saw them life two weeks ago and although the show was fantastic, it didn't really prepare me for how great this album is.

There's something vey exciting about Tim Elsenburg's songwriting, it feels like he can go anywhere with his ideas and sounds. Archaeology has a prog-rock feel and is a remix away from dance(!), there's the acoustic folk of Blue Sky Falls that turns - over it's 8.34 - gloriously anthemic, Arrived Upside Down mixes `classical' guitar, violin and accordion with some great electric guitar work, Kracklite sounds soulful and Brugada is sublime anthemic rock with a chorus you want to shout out across a field! I hear my favourites: Elbow and Radiohead, Neil Hannon, David Sylvian, Coldplay at their very best, yes, even Fleet Foxes! But Sweet Billy Pilgrim's sound is - when all the comparison's you'd like to make are made - completely unique, and all the description I've given here pigeon-hole the sound and doesn't really sum it up - YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM!

What seems quite healthy is that different reviewers seem to pick on different songs from the album as their favourite - if I must pick, Brugada, Archaeology and and Blue Sky Falls are stand outs for me.

I hope SBP do well with this album. I want to come back and say I TOLD YOU SO!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 23 July 2012
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This review is from: Crown and Treaty (Audio CD)
Can't really add much to ChilliHodge's review, but can totally commend it as a review of this record. SBP are an extremely talented band that manage to challenge you with their material while never losing sight of the melodic content of the music.

The addition of a female vocal on this record is a master stroke. It allows SBP to exist in a bigger space while retaining a stunningloy tight grip of the reins. It's well thought music but not overthought. It's still music, and never sacrifices emotion for artifice.

Absolutely beautiful piece of work. Album of the year for me, so far.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just perfect..., 8 May 2012
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This review is from: Crown And Treaty (MP3 Download)
As has been stated in every review so far, this new offering from SBP is practically faultless. Emotional, melodic, catchy yet breathtakingly sophisticated and complex. The arrangements offer something new with every listen. Each song becomes a new favourite with each spin of the album, which is frequent, as the minute it ends, you want to go straight back to the beginning and do it all again. If you like Elbow, early-ish period Radiohead( pre Kid A ),Blue Nile and anything that is what we call "proper music" then buy this immediately!! You will not regret it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!, 7 May 2012
This review is from: Crown and Treaty (Audio CD)
I have not heard about 'Sweet Billy Pilgrim' before and only stumbled across the album after reading a review on Spotify (get me). This album has completely knocked me sideways, I have played the album through a number of times but I am now trying to ration myself. There is incredible musical invention and creativity here and every song seems to have a hook that takes one by surprise. Bon Iver, Sweet Billy Pilgrim this year is turning out for me very well.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb., 30 April 2012
By 
Rp Knights "Ricardo" (Spalding, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crown and Treaty (Audio CD)
Set aside two hours of your busy life, pour yourself a glass of something, put your headphones on and listen to this wonderful cd two or three times through. It will restore your faith in modern music. Their previous album was great but needed serious attention, this one (once you have heard it a few times..see above!)will slowly absorb itself into your mind and fill your heart with joy.
Nominated for the Mercury prize for their last album, this band have introduced one new member (a female vocalist)and their sound is now complete. Their music is hard to catagorise, folk-rock is as close as I can get, but it really deserves a place in every music lovers collection because beautiful music is beautiful music however you choose to label it.
So, next time you are looking for something different, or just want to be transported to a better place, buy this album
OR, TO PUT IT BLUNTLY......BUY THIS CD!! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT I PROMISE.
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Crown And Treaty
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