Several years ago our pal Duke, over at You Set The Scene, turned us on to the unearthed/reissued Billy Nicholls LP Would You Believe. With the caveat that, unlike so many other ‘lost masterpieces,’ this was an album that actually delivered on the promise of the hyperbole. I took note and he was right. Hailed as “the British answer to Pet Sounds,” Would You Believe, features members of the Small Faces and is indeed more than a shade indebted to the alchemy that Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks cooked up 5,000 miles away in southern California.
Produced in 1968 by Andrew Loog Oldham (with a nod to Phil Spector) the album’s contemporary touchstones include the likes of the Small Faces, Left Banke, Love and Zombies, yet filtered through Loog’s production and Nicholls own idiosyncrasies. A heady slice of sixties baroque pop (chimes, strings, multi-part harmonies, brass) the overall vibe is very London meets L.A. For a taste, listen below to the resurrected “London Social Degree.”
MP3: Billy Nicholls :: London Social Degree