Billy Nomates: CACTI – 2023 – Brilliant Album

Review for Billy Nomates, CACTI – Album – 2023
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Artist: Billy Nomates
Country of Origin: UK, Bristol
Title: CACTI
Format: Album, Stream and Download
Label: INVADA Records, PIAS
Release Date: January 13, 2023
Genre: Alternative, Indie, Post-Punk
12 Tracks • 40m 40s

Hi-res 42

At qobuz and Apple Music available in
24 Bits / 48 kHz – Stereo (Hi-res)

German Flag 42

For the German translation of
this review >>> click here <<<


If there is one question that influences Tor Maries‘ songwriting under the pseudonym Billy Nomates more than any other, it is surely this: What people can I give a voice to who raise theirs far too rarely?

Her second album, „CACTI,“ released January 13, 2023 via Invada Records, tackles this aforementioned task by giving a greater voice to the heartbroken, the disillusioned, and the burned-out – with biting messages from the edges of a society increasingly mired in inequality and austerity.

„There’s already too much music in the world, so everything I do has to really matter,“ Tor tells me. „CACTI,“ recorded in her home and at Invada Studios, is a big step forward in that regard for the artist, who released her debut album, simply titled Billy Nomates, two years ago in 2020.

Self-produced with some contributions from James Trevascus and influenced by ’80s pop, folk and homemade mixtapes of forgotten ’00s bands, the new twelve songs range from fairground waltzes and Americana to synth-driven indie rock. „CACTI took a little over a year to complete,“ Tor Maries says of the process of working on the album, which follows 2021’s EP Emergency Telephone.

„I wrote very intensively on it at first, and then I didn’t at all. I hope everyone can find their own story in CACTI. I think it’s about surviving it all out there.“

Billy Nomates

Although it’s just as uncompromising as its predecessor, the album is much more emotionally accessible. Tor unabashedly navigates her deepest thoughts with dark and humorous songwriting, confronting herself with uncomfortable truths about past relationships and her own mental health. „70-80% of courage is being fucking vulnerable,“ Maries elaborates.

Released with the album announcement in September, the single „balance is gone“ tackles the day-to-day struggles of survival during this time head-on, describing Tor’s attempts to still find meaning in everything as the ground is slowly pulled out from under her. On „saboteur forcefield“ the artist reveals her tendency to self-sabotage and hopes that this is the first step in leaving some of the very destructive patterns behind.

The third released track „Blue Bones (deathwish)“ is a casual, 80s-influenced synth-pop song and ironically a celebration of life in which Maries fights dark urges with the chorus „Death don’t turn me on like it used to.“

The Bottom Line

Yeah, it’s kind of a particularly weird thing about Bill Nomates. Already their debut album with the simple title „Billy Nomates“ was mighty impressive – and for me it was something like a musical Ur-Meter, on which I could orientate myself with my musical preferences quite well. And again and again Tor Maries slid quite skillfully into the limelight with new videos like HEELS, BLUE BONES or the live performance with „BALANCE IS GONE“ at „Later with Jools Holland“. When the announcement of the new album CACTI came out in September 2022, my joy and curiosity about it was very big.

To put it in a nutshell: CACTI is a great album and scores with first-class songwriting and exceedingly intelligent arrangements. Billy’s lyrics are biting and cutting and on the one hand something like the state of our nations speech (the German and British nation, I mean). But Billy goes considerably further and also gets very personal, which makes her exceedingly sympathetic.

„Damn“, you think, „Billy is one of us, she knows who we are and how we are“. As long as you can handle and like her distinct „Fuck You.“ You can find yourself in so many of her lyrics, Billy Nomates aka Tor Maries holds the mirror up to us, and makes you realize very accurately the way you reacted in very specific situations.

Sometimes you just need Billy’s friendly direct „Fuck You“, nicely packaged in her sleek’n smart post-punk gift box.

The album is available on Qobuz and Apple Music at 24-bit / 44.1 kHz in hi-res format and sounds excellent across the frequency spectrum.

  • Resolution: 24 Bit / 44.1 kHz
  • Höhen / Treble
  • Mitten / Mids
  • Bass
  • Räumlichkeit / Spaciality
  • Music

The Bottom Line (max 5 out of 5 stars!)

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Listen and Buy

My Testequipment:

Studio 1 (High End):

  • 2 x System Audio SA Mantra 50 (front)
  • 1x System Audio SA Mantra 10 AV (center)
  • 2x System Audio SA Legend 5 (Rear)
  • 1 x System Audio Saxo 10 (Subwoofer)
  • 4 x Onkyo SKH-410 (B) (Dolby Atmos)
  • Auralic Altair (Audio Streaming Client mit max. 32 Bit / 384 kHz)
  • NVIDIA Shield Pro mit Plex, Kodi (max 192 kHz für  Audio, Tidal (MQA Streaming Client)
  • AppleTV 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
  • Amazon Cube 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos (restricted), HDR, Dolby Vision
  • Panasonic DP-UB9004 (4K UHD Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
  • Oppo UDP-203 (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
  • Yamaha CX-A5100 (Preamp) 4K, Dolby Atmos, Hi-res
  • Yamaha MX -A5000 (Power Amp)
  • Sony KD-55A1 (TV) 4K OLED, HDR, Dolby Vision

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