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Review: Exploring The Musicality Behind Billy Carter's Lighthearted 'Love And Hatred' [VIDEO]

By Jeff Tobias | February 20, 2015 05:02 PM EST


It seems like only in 2015, could we live in a world where a Korean blues-rock group is named after an ex-U.S. President's brother.

Though whether or not Billy Carter the band are indeed named after the microbrew pioneer and former Secret Service hassle of the same name remains to be seen, Billy Carter, the South Korean band, have honed their ability to be perfectly pro in their musical execution while remaining totally nonchalant in their attitude.

On the Billy Carter song "Love and Hatred," released on Wednesday, the band members show their reluctance to take themselves too seriously, except where the music is concerned.

Comprised of bandmates Jiwon Kim, Jina Kim and Hyun Joon Lee, Billy Carter can be seen on YouTube horrifying audiences in Ronald McDonald regalia. On their Facebook page, the group enthusiastically informs fans that "we are gonna [expletive] you with our music and you'll get pregnant."

Fair warning!

Billy Carter has yet to release a full album, but the music video for "Love and Hatred" would seem to indicate that their debut offering is not too far off.

Much of the band's output thus far in their relatively short existence has been wild, shambolic garage rock with an unhinged, bluesy inclination. However, on "Love and Hatred," they eschew amps entirely for an acoustic guitar and a melodica, the air-driven keyboard that acts as a clever stand-in for the more obvious choice of harmonica.

In fact, while Billy Carter have performed "Love and Hatred" live and electric, this recording dismisses drummer Lee and breaks the group down to an intimate duo. This is a comfortable fit, and no surprise considering the group began as a two-piece.

In contrast with their wild live presence, "Love and Hatred" is contained to the point of almost being genteel. The recording is crisp and balanced and the performances are neatly measured. The composition is featherweight folk-pop and the simplicity of the blues progression played confidently by Jina allows Jiwon to stretch out vocally.

Often, Jiwon's vocal phrases are stretched out into satisfyingly multisyllabic runs, but the track never becomes a self-indulgent showcase.

When "Love and Hatred" is stripped down to handclaps, Jina shakes off some supple-wristed licks, never losing the song's basic rhythmic energy. The recording has an intimate ambience, giving the song a coffee house showcase looseness. But the performance is several shades more confident than typical open mic fare.

Good-hearted fun is clearly the object here. But it's a fun that comes along with confidence, the confidence that comes with having the musical proficiency to back it up.

In this regard, Billy Carter are far more serious than they seem.

Watch the video for Billy Carter's "Love And Hatred" RIGHT HERE


Jeff Tobias is a composer, musician and writer currently living in Brooklyn, New York. As of late, he has been researching arcane tuning systems and trying to stay warm.

Tagged :  Billy Carter, Love And Hatred


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