Saturday, September 02, 2023

Willie J Healey Releases Summer Filled Album, ‘Bunny’

Oxfordshire-based singer/songwriter Willie J Healey has released his third album, ‘Bunny’ with Columbia Records and it’s a perfect concoction of everything that makes a person want to drink cocktails in the sun. This lullaby of an album is the perfect summer soundtrack for those warm August evenings. 

The first track, ‘Woke Up Smiling’ is the fresh beginning of a new album, positive vibes everywhere to start the day. 

Healey wants his listeners to start the album with a smile and a positive attitude, reassuring them that is going to be a feel-good, relaxing album. When pressing play on ’Bunny’, it seems as though it’s something from the psychedelic 70s, reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and The Velvet Underground. This song has inklings of the hippie movement like the distorted guitar created by a wah pedal. It’s a very much peace & love kind of song, giving listeners a break from most of the heartbreak songs in the indie scene at the moment.

Continuing with the Fleetwood Mac theme, the next track is ‘Dreams’ (not the same song, however). The female backing vocalists are introduced here, taken inspiration from genres like gospel and soul. The mixing of genres is very fresh and new. This is then continued as a common theme throughout the album. Healey is creating something unique here in the indie scene that no one has really explored before, making him stand out as a very exciting artist in the indie scene right now. ‘Tiger Woods’ is almost hypnotic in the way that it creates a simple beat and melody that could send the listener to sleep, mimicking breathing movements, helping to calm and relax. 

Thank You’ brings us an unexpected collaboration with Jamie T. Both artists are similar but also very different. When first hearing about this collaboration, there were mixed opinions as to whether it would be the pair of the century or they wouldn’t work well together. I think we can all agree that it works incredibly well. Jamie’s harsh British vocals complement Willie’s soft vocals and music so well. Again, mixing genres here to create something fresh, using British indie rap in this lo-fi song is something that hasn’t been explored before. The melodies are so simple yet so effective. The lyrics are the main focus of the album so the music is made to compliment and not distract, which is achieved nicely. The warm beats contrast the sarcastic tone of the lyrics, however, and a clever nod to the classic Tom Waits quote “Champagne for my real friends / Pain for my sham friends”, also used by Fall Out Boy, are just some examples of the excellent songwriting that is displayed through this album. 

We have a short break with ‘Bumble Bee’, a track that is short but sweet. Probably a favourite from this album in the way that the beats and prolonged synth sounds actually mimic the buzz of a bumble bee, a cute little easter egg. 

The second half of the album consists of the continuation of the gospel / lo-fi theme and gives us the first hint of an acoustic guitar in this album from ‘Black Camaro’. It’s being mellowed out in the second half, settling down on the way to the end of the album when it’s almost time for bed. 

Sure Feels Good’ is very similar to the lyrical writing of Paul McCartney with its happy and positive atmosphere and the very cliche happy lyrics matching the energy of the feel-good music. It is very clear that Willie J Healey got his inspiration from the 70s hippie movement music and put his own 21st-century spin on it. For example, ‘Late Night Driving’ resembles the noises of a car, similar to the way ‘Bumble Bee’ uses music as real-life sounds. 

Bluebird’ has the perfect ending to the perfect album with a fade. We’re falling asleep. It’s the end. It’s now night time on this hot summer’s day and we’re going to wake up smiling the next day. 

Willie J Healey is combining this hot new album release with a winter tour, supported by London band, FEET. Definitely an event to grab tickets for. 

Izzi Glover
Image: ‘Bunny’ Official Album Cover

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