Ray Davies of seminal London group The Kinks had a knack for bringing mundane topics to life. The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society album from 1968 epitomizes the band’s peculiarity at its best. But fast forward to today, and you may just find another London songwriter channelling Davies’s ethos into the 21st Century.
William Blackaby is just one of a handful of artists signed to London indie label Hand in Hive who are looking to add some sunlight to the UK’s COVID-dampened music scene. Blackaby’s first songs were carved out in the aftermath of an accident he suffered on holiday, where — during a period of near-total memory loss — music was the only thing that remained within him.
“I was freaking out, unable to remember the names of my family,” he explained in a press release, “but for some reason, it felt natural to do my snare drum exercises.” He said the process of his memories coming back to him felt like “a kind of ecstasy — getting something so precious back that you thought you’d lost.”
Everything’s Delicious is Blackaby’s latest body of work. It follows on from his T-Rex infused-EP What’s on the TV? and showcases his fluid, free-flowing approach to songwriting that never feels forced.
“Stevenson” immediately foreshadows Everything’s Delicious’s intimate atmosphere. There’s a folk-like warmth in the track’s production that makes you feel as though you’re live in the room with the band; the echoes of the drum toms, Blackaby’s airy vocals, and tenderly finger-picked acoustic guitars creating the collectively communal aroma.
The following track, “Warm and Sweet,” is the highlight of the EP. Blackaby’s ode to Homes Under the Hammer (the pinnacle of mundane, British daytime TV) injects the track with humor that’s topped only by the pie-in-the-face quirkiness of the accompanying music video. Electric guitars also come to the fore, ramping up the energy with fuzzy, atmospheric minute-long solos and acute chord structures that harken strongly to Davies’s style of songwriting.
“Sweet Lemonade” carries a contrastingly bitter taste as Blackaby explores more introspective themes — “no-one lives inside” — while “No Long Grass” wouldn’t feel amiss if it were a side track to The Beatles’s White Album with its George Harrison-esque guitars and Paul McCartney musing descending bass note sequences.