Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Joyful Reunion” by Sweet Billy Pilgrim from their 2012 release Crown and Treaty, released on their own label Luxor Purchase.
Like the author from whose novel they derive their name, English indie-rockers Sweet Billy Pilgrim have a knack for exploring the sadness and joy buried just under the surface of everyday existence. After being short-listed for the 2009 Mercury Prize following the release of their sophomore album, Twice Born Men, the London trio quit their day jobs, added a fourth member, started their own label, and got busy writing Crown and Treaty. The result, led brilliantly by frontman Tim Elsenburg and his beautifully quivering voice, reminiscent of a older, lower Will Sheff, is a headfirst tumble into heartfelt indie-rock.
“Joyful Reunion,” a song about moving on and letting go, separation and acceptance, is apparently anything but. Opening with a quick, simple beat, Elsenburg’s semi-falsetto falls perfectly into place carrying the song forward with sad and sleepy grace. “We tear the pages out but we write them faster,” chants Elsenburg, putting simply into literary terms the incredibly complicated process of coming to terms with the past. Crescendoing but never erupting, “Joyful Reunion” is an example of restrained, grown-up indie-rock at its finest.
Sweet Billy Pilgrim currently have no U.S. dates scheduled in 2013, so until they make it Stateside keep checking their website and Facebook page. For now, you can make do with this wonderful video for “Joyful Reunion,” which captures the long-distance, Skype-induced heartache almost too perfectly: