Music Review – Hillström and Billy – The Arising

My second review for Semplesize. The general idea behind writing for them is that, you go to a webpage where they list all the different artists/songs they have been forwarded and you put your name next to the one you like the best.

Now my first one for a band called Bear’s Den was picked mainly because the song was called think of England and I thought it was rather apt for someone who only moved to Australia a year ago. But this time I had to pick based on merit alone. So I sat myself down and started wandering through the listings, eventually being rather surprised to find something which surprised and delighted me.

The band, or at least the name by which the individual goes, is Hillström and Billy, and the song is called The Arising. You can find the original published article here.



The word “Band” can be used in a fantastically loose sense when talking about the musical collective centred around Petter Hillström’s vocal nonchalance. Hillström and Billy aren’t so much a band as a large and interchangeable group of Petter’s friends and acquaintances, who seem to jump at the chance to collaborate on whatever is floating his longship at the time.
Hailing from Stockholm in Sweden, Hillström’s previous works have orbited around folk pop and lo-fi acoustic planets, often grazing the musical asteroids of The Kooks or Athlete. This isn’t the full story though!
Petter’s previous work occasionally hints at what you will get from The Arising. The earlier tracks, such as With You Ahahah, Hillside and Why Won’t Be Why Anymore, suggest that when the volume knob is twisted clockwise a couple of notches the intensity of the music increases exponentially.

So, if you are hoping for the lethargic strummings, pleasant as they are, of his other works then you might be disappointed. But if what you would like is the passion of early era REM with the intensity of Radiohead then you may have found your ideal tune.

Starting off with four lonely drum beats, faintly reminiscent of the palm muted guitar at the beginning of Unbreakable by Comes with the Fall, The Arising isn’t exactly a new direction, it’s more an embracing of folk-pops darker side (does folk-pop even have a darker side???). There isn’t a whiff of an acoustic guitar and the violin goes no way to sedating the urgency inspired by the other instruments.

For some people these sounds may inspire similar feelings to those of the people watching, when Bob Dylan arrived on a stage for the first time clutching his Fender Stratocaster. Personally, I think this track could mean international recognition for Petter Hillström who, until the start of 2014, only posted updates on Facebook in Swedish. I don’t know if he’s trying to become a bit more marketable but, if this is the case then, he’s managed to hit the proverbial iron spike on its transversely flattened end.

If you’re a fan of folk music then check it out. If you’re a fan of pop music then check it out. If you’re a fan of rock music then check it out. In fact, this song is so appealing I think it should be made the new national anthem of Sweden and played at any event they take part in!

I’m not sure whether this is apparent but I really like The Arising!



About Dan Ladle

Part Man, Part Machine, All Diabetic. 1 Wife, 1 Son, 1 Daughter, 1 Cat, 1 Insulin Pump, Type 1 Diabetic, Writer, Musician, Web-Monkey, Idiot. View all posts by Dan Ladle

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