Polly And The Billets Doux – Four Bars at Dempseys, Cardiff, 17 May 2014

Polly And The Billets Doux – Four Bars at Dempseys, Cardiff, 17 May 2014


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Since the release of their debut EP “Head Of Steam” in 2009 and their debut album “Fiction, Half-Truths and Downright Lies” in 2010; Polly and The Billets Doux have been garnering attention and praise for their eclectic mix of gospel, soul, blues, folk, and country.

This four- piece comprising of Polly Perry (lead vocals) Andrew Steen (lead guitar/vocals) Dan Everett (double bass/vocals) and Ben Perry (drums) have toured extensively since.

The band kick off in rambunctious style, clearly stating their intentions as they blend blues with foot stomping rockabilly. But they can also produce calmer moments as they perform a beautiful “Sycamore Ships”, as the charismatic Polly holds the full attention of the room. This can also be said of the random vignettes a bare-footed Polly shares with us between songs. Disclosures include  her spare-time Taxidermy hobby, and the fact that the band won’t let her stop for “roadkill” whilst on tour; and tales of  learning to play chess as an 8 year old on a train courtesy of a ex- prisoner released that day.
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Echo’s of The Beautiful South can be heard of the gorgeous “Did A Goodman” with Polly’s vocals sounding sublime. I feel like I have been transported back to a Speakeasy in prohibition era Chicago as they ease their way through a bluesy “Money Tree” with Polly hitting some pretty incredible high notes. It must also be mentioned though that its Dan and Andrew’s vocal harmonies that give the band a rich depth and texture live, especially on “Stories Of Our Own”. They also have some serious “licks” as Andrew (in a Stooges T-shirt) demonstrates throughout the gig.

There is also one other trick up their sleeve as Polly (again between songs) delivers a very accomplished and credible Rap, something I don’t think any of us saw coming!
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Polly And The Billets Doux are an alluring proposition, not shackled by convention or genre. They present a refreshing take on what was, by re-interpreting it. It would appear that any genre is up for grabs, and that’s  what makes them special and unique. It would be easy for them to plough the middle path and settle, but that would miss the point entirely.

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