CD Review: High Time by Bill Wilkie Print
Monday, 11 May 2009 12:34
By Tyler Bothe – GJD Contributor
So as a quasi indie film director is finishing up your quirky yet loveable character piece about two college aged darlings who just don't manage to fit into any sort of stereo-type, you're thinking to yourself: what musical score am I whittlin' out for this soon to be Sundance wunderkind? Well for all you whom this applies to, the answer might be Bill Wilkie's latest disc "High Time" whose labor is evident enough in the fact that he wrote, performed and engineered all fourteen songs himself.  For the rest of you, grabbin this album is possibly going to give you an edge when you see it attached to that academy award nominated sleeper movie who no one can deny: (imagine knowing the band, The Moldy Peaches before Juno came out). 

Musically the album starts up with what seems like a reluctance towards distortion given the tracks that follow, which is somewhat ironic because it's exactly the subtle overdrive that let's it shine during the pain-stricken heart felt chorus that pushes it from average to memorable. I mean just try getting the chorus line “I can't be quiet no more” out of your head after listening only once.  The opening track also leads into the next tune which comes off as a bit reminiscent of “The Blower's Daughter”, Damien Rice's soft-spoken hit breaking ground on the soundtrack to the 2004 film “Closer”. 

As your progression into this 14-track trek continues you'll find a hint of sameness, which might cause you to abandon hope halfway through: don't.  Where the album dips slightly in dynamics it flourishes in songwriting prolificacy and ability.  Expect not the shred solos (which Bill seems capable of) or wild eyed fantasy based lyrics but instead find rich chord progressions coming together to make solid, original music conjuring images of self-reflective times. Mr. Wilkie hits the meat and potatoes of the album by not only exploring the creative changes of his acoustic side, but by dipping his fingers into the tones of reverberated keyboards and letting their space aged sounds connect and carry it out of typical open-mic acoustic dredge. And call it contradictory, but although letting the keys lift his songs out of the norm may have been a smart move, on the track "I'll Stay" shortly after, you hear the always satisfying understated classical strings pull at you beneath the acoustic warmth.

"High Time" may not be the greatest exposition of guitar technical ability or showmanship, but it's not meant to be.  It's an easy listening soft-rock album perfect with putting on while reading, or perhaps as I alluded to earlier, writing that screenplay to put it to. It's there to intrude upon your ears politely, propping them up with a soft pillow and keeping them satisfied and comfortable and just making you feel good. His production techniques and execution of musical passages show of this man’s past training, influences, and life experience.

"High Time" may grab, embrace, or relax you. Upon further consumption it might throw its listener into a different mindset from the first time. Or, not. Either way, listening to this fine offering is the only way to find out.