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POLLY AND THE BILLETS DOUX Fiction, Half Truths And Downright Lies Bleak Mouse Records (2008)

Polly and The Billets Doux

I know most GRTR! readers have a full house of O and A levels (and some aspire to even higher education qualifications) , but for those like this scribe who needed a little (Google) reminder of what a 'billy do' is, it's a love letter. So fiction, half truths and downright lies, is a pretty apt album title.

So let's start at the beginning. Vocalist Polly Perry is enchanting. No other word will do. And the Billets Doux - Andrew Steen (vocals, guitars, harmonica, keys), Dan Everett (bass) and Ben Perry (drums) aren't too bad either.

The band are somewhat unique in a Jools Holland Show sort of a way. Pop, jazz, blues, country, folk or gospel? After numerous listens and an equal number of beers I'm still not sure. But what I do know is that they have that 'je nais se quois'.

At times they're like a barber shop quartet, at others they're firmly in Norah Jones territory. At others they revisit the early '60's. But at the same time they are never anything less than contemporary and quintessentially English. Divine harmonies and understated, but absorbing vocals.

Fiction, Half Truths And Downright Lies may last for only just over half an hour, but it is, indeed, like a billet doux - it leaves you wondering, wondering just what it was you saw in your lover, but at the same time not just wanting, but needing more.

And if you're heading to Glastonbury, or the Dartmouth Folk Festival, you're in for a treat.


Review by Pete Whalley

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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