Pete Fij and Terry Bickers - We Are Millionaires

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2017-07-21

Pete Fij and Tery Bickers' second album, We Are Millionaires, was financed by almost 11 grand raised via Kickstarter. This shows that the former Adorable and House Of Love/Levitation men have been quietly building up a supportive fan-base for their classic, literate pop.

A count in and the combination of Fij's acoustic rhythm playing and Bickers' lead begin Let's Get Lost Together. A duet between Fij's world-weary croak and Bickers' more youthful-sounding voice with Fij's distinctive voice being the most obvious lead instrument. The song itself is a pretty and classic bit of song-writing with a little piano and strings in the background and lovely little enbellishments from Bickers. No longer the explosive guitarist of his House of Love/Levitation days, he serves the songs on this album with taste and imagination. If The World Is All We Have, all finger-clicks, vibes and bass, is a short but groovy tune where the sense of approaching mortality is captured in the line 'I am no Einstein but the time is relatively scarce.' The single, Love's Going To Get You - its unfortunate use of 'OMG' aside - is another classic piece of song-writing, lyricism and arranging with strings and harmonica combining with more layers of Bickers. Feedback starts We Are Millionaire's before it gives way to Fij and Bickers' guitars. The song is a nicely put variation of the 'if I head a penny for every...' line of thinking where 'if this melancholy that we share is common currency we are millionaires'. Again, it's a well-written and skillfully-executed song that balances the wry with the deep and emotional. Waking Up, like the rest of We Are Millionaires, combines a knowledge of classic records and soundtracks from the 50s and 60s and winds up in the same literate-pop territory as recent albums by Pete Astor and Peter Perrett. The Fij and Bickers guitars once again start I Don't Know whose mentions of Hitchcock and Schrodinger's Cat show the man of a certain age's love of trivia and being a smart-arse. Over You is more world-weary, heartbreak that starts out with Fij on his own before Bickers begins to fill out the sound in the way that all great guitarists can. I Love You, about a partner's inability to say those words, is bittersweet - it has light and shade like all great songs. Sometime Soon is the closer. A lovely piece of melancholy, Fij's voice is will-suited to this kind of (just about) dignified heartbreak and Bickers supports him to the end.

Nine tracks in a little over half an hour make this seem like a 60s album. And, with their use of comedy and tragedy, Fij and Bickers can often seem like a throwback to the wry, amused lyricists of a bygone age, rather like the Lee Hazlewood of My Autumn's Done Come. They are a current and on-going concern though, thriving whilst others have disappeared. One could be forgiven for questioning why we should be listening to over-educated, under-achievers, trading on past glories with their nice-sounding instruments and clever words. But Fij and Bickers do it so well. It's a charming, big-hearted record made by two charming, big-hearted chaps.

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