Hocus Pocus by The Billy Dechand Band (Review)
Mr. Dechand’s got a degree in music composition, but his music is played with the kind of shambly gait one imagines is only picked up in towns with lots of cobblestone roads and too many Renaissance fesitvals. Relax, there’s no gratuitous displays of virtuosity on the usual pop instruments (guitar, piano) here, though. The academic background does pop up in the way rhythms inevitably shift to complexity and the sort of arrangements you’ll never find in a band that ever said the phrase “let’s just jam on it and see what happens” with any conviction.
The Talking Heads, Beatles, and XTC are listed as influences, but it never really goes far enough “out” to be any of those artists. It’s not really groovy like the Heads, and the lyrics are nowhere near as biting as Andy Partridge. As far as the Beatles… no, I can’t say I see that either. The main thing that I could never get over about this record are those ubiquitous time shifts with the equally “quirky” arrangement in every song.
Any time the band would slink into something a bit low key and less self-conscious, I knew it wouldn’t last. At best I think this could be decent slow-fi music à la Ida or Bedhead or maybe the most tolerable aspects of twee like Belle & Sebastian. I don’t think that’s what they’re going for though. In the end I couldn’t enjoy this for what it was, regardless of whether I ever figured out what that was.
Written by Pearson Greer.