Single review – Billy Nomates, Heels

Reviewed by Nanci Rawsthorne

Released on 25/01/21

Very few independent female vocalists emerge from the UK with as much raw talent as Billy Nomates with her track Heels. With clear post-punk influences, Billy sets a clear precedent that she is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

The coupling of the gritty beat layered with the euphoric, swirling synthesisers makes for a completely immersive 80’s grunge vibe. Her voice itself can be described as powerful, aggressive even – she has a clear message to send and won’t let anyone, or anything, get in the way. Describing her vocals as aggressive, however, is not to say that they deter the listener, rather she utilises her raw power to invite them to join her in her tirade against the patriarchy. Because of this, there is no doubt in my mind that Billy Nomates would fit right in with major female punk artists such as Poly Styrene and Ari Up.

In spite of her undoubtable uniqueness, if I were to compare her to another artist my mind immediately goes to Fiona Apple. The two speak the same kind of musical language, utilising audio as a vessel for their imperative messages. Aside from this, Billy Nomates truly holds her own as an independent female artist – particularly in an industry so heavily dominated by men.

Though her music is embedded in the post-punk genre and she clearly takes influence from punk rock, Billy Nomates’ vocals are as powerful as those of a jazz singer. Her harmonies (all done herself, impressively) provide a lot of depth to an otherwise fairly minimalistic track.

Her vocals are predominant in the mix, although this does not mean that she overpowers the track. Rather, her vocals sit comfortably above the bassline. Fundamentally, it is the instrumentation of Billy Nomates’ track which sets it apart from her competition in the genre. Heels mainly consists of synthesised instruments and sampled drums – an invigorating and enticing modern rework of what some would consider to be an outdated genre.

With punchy lyrics and the overall ingenuity of the track, it’s no wonder that Billy Nomates has received such high praise from her YouTube comments to big newspapers such as The Guardian. Should she continue the way she has, with lyrically charged tracks she is bound for major success.
Overall, with a strong beat and commanding vocals as well as her unmatched authority and raw sensibility, Heels solidifies Billy Nomates as one to watch.

Watch the video for Heels on YouTube here.

Heels is the first track from her forthcoming EP Emergency Telephone which will be out on 05/03/21 and you can pre-order it here.

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