So here it is, the fourth solo album by former Gods Toys/I singer & front man Dill (now performing as Daffod'i'll): ‘Go-Spell-Truth-Heaven' (released on 17th October)
"Hot Music Live's" own Paul Englefield, in reviewing the I track "I Am I" on "Alternative Sounds Volume Two" back in July described them as "anthemic sci-fi mock drama" and in hindsight, I think the same sort of description might also apply in a way to God Toys. However in those days, Dill was working closely with other musicians and singing songs which at best he only had a part in creating & usually less of a role in the arrangements (though not of course the unforgettable visuals everyone who saw either band will remember). These days, all aspects of the writing & creation rest solely in his hands with his only collaborator being the Cage Studio's Martin Bowes who produces, mixes & masters his tracks. Thus the musical settings have evolved & are much more intimate than with either of his bands: in fact one wonders how he will present them live given that the high drama of Gods Toys & I gigs would not suit this newer material. I look forward to finding out.
What hasn't changed in all this time is his general approach to what he wants his songs to say, which is broadly speaking a very spiritual centre, albeit viewed through prisms of great humour & humanity. Whereas all his earlier work may be said to reflect Dill's general attitude to the bigger questions in life & specific themes within them, ‘Go-Spell-Truth-Heaven', for the first time addresses personal specifics in a very overt way: namely the passing last year of his mother. In fact the black theme of the cover photo & the flower he sports (which Dill's sister found at the Crematorium at the funeral) are cited by him as important visual counterpoints to the songs.
So perhaps you are expecting morbid introspection? Well that's not Dill's way. Although far from untroubled by darker thoughts in his life, his music has always tended to the uplifting, whatever the circumstances. Despite loss, Dill is optimistic about the Great Beyond.
As with his previous album (‘Love & Peace')'s "Piano Peace" and other similar songs, Dill does transcendentally beautiful ambient pieces well: check out "Summer Sunrise" on this latest album.
"The Lord's Prayer - Psalm 23" is certainly Dill's most religious song ever in terms of unambiguous language (the lyrics come from the two texts in the title) but is set to a mild & almost jolly electro melody: if you heard this in church it would have to be quite a groovy church.
On the other hand "Death in my Father's Plain" draws its lyrical inspiration from the funeral service & the subject is very much as you'd expect: however as I've said, neither the musical setting (albeit rather an unsettling one) nor the main words, which draw the subject back towards the duality of human existence, emphasises morbidity
"An Eye for the Eyes" demonstrates Dill's playfulness, drawing its inspiration & title (plus many of the lyrics) directly from the original "I Am I"'s lyrics & updates its message, substituting, as noted above, the template's power & dramatics for that more restrained & intimate delivery which speaks more directly to the listener rather than enveloping them within a glorious pageant.
A personal favourite is "Bless This House" which starts off like Billy Joel and proceeds in a lively pop/soul manner while "Ishe" reminds me of Tom Tom Club's "Wordy Rappinghood" and "Daddy Cool Aid" sounds like Boney M jamming along to the sort of synthesiser which Pete Townshend used on various early 70s Who tracks. Is "Hello" a nod towards Pil? What fun.
"Nothing I Can Do" is (as the more deciperable lyrics say) "so mysterious". Is Dill singing in tongues in some parts? Is this a metaphor for the mysteries of life? Possibly. Or I may have got the wrong end of the stick on that one.
If you are looking for any remaining traces of "sci-fi drama" then perhaps "Love Everlast" is the track to look for it within and if any hints of the old Gods Toys sound check out "Masquerade"
You won't hear this sort of album anywhere else I can guarantee you.
‘Go-Spell-Truth-Heaven' is available via
To steal a well known phrase (from a program I admit is a guilty pleasure!) FAB-U-LOUS, Wildwood Kin were simply stunning and after just a single show and one album behind they them have joined my list of most loved artists that also includes Mostly Autumn, Marillion, Kristy Gallacher and Steve Walwyn (with or without Dr. Feelgood) and after my years of following these wonderful artists that must tell you how impressed I was.
After my big exhibition a couple of days ago (will write about my feelings on that night soon) and my proposed semi-retirement from the gig stuff so glad I had already arranged this one and now just itching to see them play again.
As a bonus we also had two other amazing artists on the bill with a local girl who just gets better and better opening up proceedings Taylor-Louise, full of confidence with such amazing vocals at times soulful and delicate at others power packed and with occasionally shades of Tracy Chapman she wowed the crowd with a set of original numbers showcasing her impressive song writing skills such as 'Twenty Three' which just rolled along and a soul soaked ‘Jealous Eyes' and adding a touch of country to an inspired (thought it was an original on the night, thank God for research!) cover of Beyonce's ‘Daddy Lessons'.
Next up Speak, Brother with a set full of emotion and at times rousing anthemic numbers with an occasional nod to The Edge for me in the guitar stakes and a superb mix of folk and rock (even for me a touch of The Pineapple Thief style prog rock at times), fine harmonies with plenty of light and shade moving from slow-burning to pumped, up-lifting rockers and the frontman did a great job and getting the audience involved and splitting the floor into two halves with each half singing different lyrics at the same time was inspired
Standouts for me a stirring ‘Empire' and the unusually titled and beautifully mellow ‘Pond Boy' and loved the banter with the singer about the chance of a mosh pit during the set and some bright spark shouting out "a polite mosh pit", the second great set of the night.
Talking of great sets where to start with the magical headliners Wildwood Kin, well at the start I suppose! and so after walking casually onto stage to a roar of approval Beth, Emillie and Meghann took their places, Meghann in the centre on standup drum kit keeping the rocking beat of ‘Warrior Daughter' charging along with Emillie on guitar and Beth on Keys and bouzouki adding wonderful musical layers on either side.
The harmony and lead vocals throughout from this americana/folk/roots band (lets just call it wonderful music!) were the best I have ever heard live (nod to the sound guys as well) and both this and the overall musicality of the group with at its core that amazing drum work (covering so many styles) left me a little in awe of their talent while the emotion and spirituality in the music also left a big impression.
Lead vocals were swapped around all set so all three had chances to shine on both voice and instrument with gorgeous melodies and passion throughout, occasionally for me I heard echoes of Enya and possibly a drop of Corrs like Celtic magic to their sound and even on the rockier numbers a touch of The Bangles but all of this added to their very own sound gave them a truly distinctive style.
Every number was a stand out and the set included all of the bands unbelievably assured and brilliant 2017 debut album Turning Tides, ‘Run' was uplifting, so catchy and a crisp foot tapping delight, ‘The Author' was slightly more delicate, still upbeat with simply magical angelic vocals.
When the ladies slowed it right down the magic just increased as with the exquisite and tranquil ‘Dove' with its incredible vocal harmonies and atmospheric keyboard layers and ‘Hold On' where that Enya like sound came into its own and its stirring, positive lyrics were a thing of joy along with more heavenly vocals.
When they up the tempo it works just as well with the soul tinged ‘Steady My Heart' the flowing folky magic of album title track ‘Turning Tides' with its fab acoustic guitar work giving it extra groove, the more rocky ‘Taking Hold' which adds strong electric lead guitar including for me cleverly throwing in a few nods to the classic Spirit In The Sky riff and a soaring ‘Circumstance'.
Two covers from their brand new EP Voices of Equilibrium their own takes on some of their favourite numbers made the set and Stevie Wonders ‘Higher Ground' turned into almost a gospel number with such feeling and more rocking lead guitar and an amazing version of Tracy Chapman classic ‘Talkin' Bout a Revolution' were both inspired.
Encore ‘The Valley' was a beautiful low-key end to an amazing set, full of hope and joy which left you with a wonderful feeling in the heart.
You probably get the idea, I loved this set so much and in my 40 years of loving live music I have never seen a better live performance or one that has had more of an impact on me, unbelievable, stirring and heart warming stuff.
A Catch 22 Promotions promotion ...
A night of rock hosted by Catch 22 Promotions in association with Warwick University societies Rock Soc and Band Soc.
The night will be headlined by award winning Spanish rockers Agoraphobia, who visit the UK for the first time hot on the heels of their acclaimed debut LP "Incoming Noise". Agoraphobia is a band on the rise with an incredible, powerful live show.
Midlands melodic death metal outfit The Face Of Ruin will provide support. Winners of 2016's Metal to the Masses competition, they blend catchy, melodic, but brutal riffs with an unpredictable sense of energy and fun.
Cultureblood and Incarnal, two upcoming rock bands provided by the University of Warwick Band Society will open the night, and the event will finish with DJs from both Band Soc and Rock Soc who will keep the riffs coming until late.
14+ event (under 18s must be accompanied by an adult)
A Catch 22 Promotions promotion ...
A triple-header presented by Catch 22 Promotions showcasing three of the most talented upcoming bands that rock has to offer.
Luna Kiss is a band that dares to dream and refuses to be limited by expectation. Their live shows are guaranteed to include drama, energy and creativity and the contrasting dynamics of their music makes them a fascinating band to watch.
Award winning Spanish rockers Agoraphobia visit the UK for the first time hot on the heels of their acclaimed debut LP "Incoming Noise". Agoraphobia is a band on the rise with an incredible, powerful live show.
The Ellipsis are an exciting, versatile young rock band featuring distinctive vocals and boundless energy in their live performances.
Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.
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