To me Bilk have always been at their best when their witty, ultra-real lyrics are spat in front of a stripped back punk instrumental. It’s why I have come to be a fan of some of their songs, but it’s also why I haven’t been able to fully fall in love with the band just yet. When they stary from this path, as they do every now and then, I find myself really struggling to find anything original about the music they make. And so, with baited breath I waited for their latest single to come out, wandering which side of Bilk will present itself. To my… befuddlement, yeah sure I’ll go with that, to my befuddlement they have chosen to go with… both?
It’s maybe even more frustrating that they present their best and worst sides in the same song because in the verses you are reminded that Bilk at their best are a clever and original take on the British adolescent experience, through the medium of bouncy, indie-punk. With references to Peep Show, Sid & Nancy and Stick n Pokes making for a genuinely engaging song.
Unfortunately, the chorus sounds like it was ripped from an early Blink 182 record, honestly its actually uncanny. Lyrics like “I don’t care if she’s bad news”x2 leave a not-so-great taste in the mouth of the listener and the breakdown towards the end of the song could come straight out of the aforementioned Blink’s seminal hit Dammit. It really is hard for me to get my head around how a band can sound so unapologetically British and yet so clearly be ripping off an ultra-American genre like late 90’s pop punk, and yet here we are.
Like I said before so far in Bilks admittedly short career they have shown that they seem to still be looking for a sound to stick with and it can be frustrating to see them flirt with something so sonically cringey when they have already hit upon a sound that works. I just hope they can get rid of these growing pains sooner rather than later. There’s something to Bilk, I just don’t know that they know yet.