The cover art on William Pilgrim's new album shows Will and PM Romero -- both men of color -- getting beaten by white cops. It's a chillingly prescient photo given current events, but the fact is it's a fact of life for many of the men in this great nation. I don't have the emotional energy for a sermon so congrats, you've been spared. Suffice to say the photo is emblematic of the band's darkly humorous political commentary.
Following up on their last album, the band treads familiar territory -- warm, honest music that's equal parts roots music and R&B, featuring William Pilgrim's caramel voice and true stories of truly hard times. "In The Street" and "How It Feels" are probably the most hard-hitting, as they're the most overtly political. However, it's nice to see the band loosen up with songs like "Gimme a Sign" and "Bar Crawl." They're just good old-fashioned songs about having a swell time on the weekends (or wishing the person who gives you a swell time would also give you the time of day.)
My wish for the band's first album was that it sounded a little less carefully produced, that the emotions in the songs -- although always sincere -- were allowed to really push through the polish and hit listeners in the gut. In this sense, Mr. Pilgrim has found his way home. The band is definitely more confident, and definitely more willing to take risks. This is strong music by a strong band that is only getting better with experience.
William Pilgrim and the All Grows Up -- Official, Facebook, Purchase from the band