CD Review – The Innocent Ones by Willie Nile – 8 out of 10
River House Records
The Singer-songwriter Willie Nile is something of a musical magpie, but always managing to fashion something new out of older material. His voice is part Elvis Costello, part Bob Dylan, part Tom Waits, par Tom Petty, but always his own. His music is part Punk, part New Wave, part retro, part rock, part blues, part jazz, but an attractive hybrid nevertheless, but what he sings about is not your usual boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy learns something type narrative, there is something more at work here. With a stripped down band personal of multi-instrumentalists Willie Nile, Steuart Smith, doing most of the musical heavy-lifting, and Frankie Lee as co-songwriter, backing vocalist, and provider of the groups powerful drum sounds, the album has a multi-layered full sound, using more than the two guitar, drums and bass format, with piano, organ, harmonicas, sitar guitars,banjo, and pump organ adding to the mix. The album goes from the protest song ‘One Guitar’ which recasts the rhythm parts of Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ to good effect, to the ballads ‘The Innocent Ones’ and ‘Sideways Beautiful’, to the punky ‘Cant stay home’ and ‘Hear you Breathe’. This is a fine album, full of something new using something old, perfect for older punks and new wavers who are not ready for the pipes and slippers.