by Philip Moss
There is often a level of embarrassment associated with throwing the kitchen sink at a record, and in wanting your music to sound huge. And ambition can often be mistaken for arrogance. But Willie J Healey has no such issues, and on his sophomore full length, he’s created an album that is packed with aspiration and bursting with fun – in fact, it really is crying out to cross over to the masses.
Opener, Fashun, is a real statement of intent, and pretty much sums up the Oxfordshire songwriter’s blueprint. Combining the feel of Elvis Costello with the delivery of Kevin Morby, Healey is by no means a lyrical genius, and there’s more than the odd cliche thrown in for good measure – ‘Cream rises to the top… I’m gonna be best friends with fame!’ But as demonstrated on Songs for Joanna and Sweeter Than Most, he has taken a well worked sound, and while not totally owning it, has the swagger, the charm and the pizzazz to pull it off.
Like the enormous amplifier that adorns the Twin Heavy sleeve, Healey clearly wants to make a big dent on the contemporary music scene, and despite having left major label, Sony, following his debut album, People And Their Dogs, this is a record that will attract many admirers. ‘Were you listening to your favourite songs on your radio?’ Healey sings on Twin Stereo, as he channels his inner John Lennon. Original he may not be, but Healey certainly does have an ear for a classic sounding tune.
Secret Meeting score: 70
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