Liz Brown and Ramesh Pillay make up the husband-wife duo Bill Times A Billion, out of upstate NY. Their style weaves between 60’s pop and fuzzy garage rock seamlessly. Say It Nicer is their latest album, which came out in early January. The album showcases Brown’s impeccable vocals with both originals and covers.
The songs they cover are beloved classics to some, perhaps unknown to others. “Motor Away” is a Guided By Voices track off their Alien Lanes record. “I Think We’re Alone Now” was made famous in the 80’s by Tiffany, but Bill Times A Billion takes it old school, referencing the version by Tommy James & The Shondells. The last one is a Sam Cooke song called “Bring It On Home To Me.” Though these songs may contrast greatly in style and tone, Liz and Ramesh do them quite well. They hit all the right notes without sounding like carbon copies.
The five originals are pretty similar. I really dig “Friends Want Hope” because the guitar riff feels like something Nick Zinner might come up with. This one is really Ramesh’s time to shine because his part really drives the song. Liz delivers on drums, but the guitar just kills it.
I dig the musical interlude right in the middle of the album. Liz lays down some sweet trumpet sounds and never goes too big, as some trumpet players try to do. It’s only a little over a minute, but it’s a nice way to break up the record and still give the listener something to keep them interested.
“Talking With The Sky” is a very simple song, but I think it’s my favorite here. It’s short on lyrics but heavy on feeling. The only words are “Making new sound/Despite you, Making new sound/To find you. Dark black sky/Don’t tell me.” The way it’s delivered has a certain dark grandeur to it that is really beautiful.
This is Bill Times A Billion’s second release, and hopefully there will be many more. It’s not hard to believe these band mates are married, because they seem to be perfectly in sync on record. They don’t currently have any shows listed, so hopefully they do go out on the road sometime this year. You can pick up Say It Nicer on Bandcamp for free!