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Cacti by Billy Nomates

Billy Nomates


Release Date: Jan 13, 2023

Genre(s): Pop/Rock

Record label: Invada


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Album Review: Cacti by Billy Nomates

Very Good, Based on 4 Critics

Under The Radar - 70
Based on rating 7/10

Tor Maries feels like she's just going around and around, she tells us over and over on CACTI opener "balance is gone." Understandable, since all of life since 2020 seems to be stuck in an endless time warp. Yet, Maries--whose first record as Billy Nomates came out at the beginning of the time warp--certainly doesn't seem stuck on her new follow-up. CACTI is made up of much of the same stuff as that debut record--post-punk fervor, murky bass riffs, sparse electronic drums, no-holds-barred lyricism--but the emphases are all different.

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Clash Music
Opinion: Fantastic

Following the release of her self-titled debut in 2020 , it was clear that Billy Nomates, the stage persona of Bristol's Tor Maries, had hit a sweet spot between a modern take on punk and spacious synth sounds that grant her lyrics plenty of room to breathe. With her sophomore offering 'CACTI', Maries has taken her signature sound down a completely different avenue, reworking a place of instability into a dominant energy that grows in leaps and bounds as the record plays out. Declaring that the 'balance is gone', that thumping bass paves the way forward on the opening track, carrying a disturbing intensity that sets the tone for the foundations of 'CACTI'.

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Record Collector
Opinion: Excellent

If the debut album by Tor Maries, aka Billy Nomates, seethed, sometimes playfully, at aspects of modern life a la sometime collaborators Sleaford Mods, its follow-up Cacti turns the focus inwards. Enduring post-pandemic trauma, heartbreak, the millennial struggle: Cacti might show Maries in survival mode, but revealing vulnerability has seen her songwriting soften and come into its own. Maries' resolutely DIY aesthetic remains - the album was written in her kitchen on an old micro keyboard and drum machine - but her angular sound has been swapped for melodic peppy 80s pop (blue bones, vertigo), electro-indie (balance is gone, spite) and lush atmospherics (blackout signal).

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Dusted Magazine
Opinion: Very Good

CACTI by Billy Nomates / Tor Billy Nomates, whose real name is Tor Maries, first gained traction under the aegis of the Sleaford Mods, and while she was, perhaps, always a bit more fluid and pop-influenced than them, her first album echoed that band's volatile combination of profuse verbiage and skeletal beats. Cuts like "Fat White Man" delivered bile-spiked poetry in the context of clanking minimalism; it wasn't a big reach for the Sleafords' loyal fan base. CACTI, you should know from the outset, is a whole different beast.

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