Billiam’s ‘Jump To 3D’ spits out punk you can prance to

Deliciously unhinged, the potent pandemonium of this album blows down pretentious walls with a sneer.
Rohit Bhattacharya
Rohit Bhattacharya
Writer, erstwhile musician, and intermittent content creator. Rohit is based in New Delhi, India. Contact: rohitbhattacharya@gmail.com or Instagram: robohop10

Life tends to go full circle, and that extends to people’s tastes in music—you start the journey with pop, lean into some rock, dabble in a little light jazz, try your hand at avant-garde noise symphonic orchestras, and then go right back to where it all began. Because the pull of the past and its myriad charms is always prettier in hindsight, that’s what the band Billiam offers—a carefree space to bop your chops off without the ever-upturned noses of musical snobs breathing down your backside.

Hailing from the sunny loveliness of Melbourne, Australia, Billiam comprises principal songwriter Billy Twyford and a revolving door of musicians from bands such as The Vovos, TOR, and Revv. They’re bringing back the silliness in punk, the kookiness, and hilarity that stems from the freedom of the genre. In fact, they’re proponents of egg punk, a little-known subgenre that aims to negate any possible air of blustery seriousness. With Jump To 3D, Billiam has crafted a distorted speedball of a 5-track album, so you can confidently put all your eggs in this basket case of a band.

The guitar licks on “ADS,” the first track on the album, are reminiscent of songs used in teen movies like American Pie—a simpler time with catchy choruses and feel-good writing. The drums are shambolic, the lyrics are unintelligible, and the guitars will make your head spin—it’s perfect. Billiam knows how to capture the chaotic charm and novelty of being a young, hot mess. The second track flows in organically from the first—perhaps they’re both in the same key. Chock full of riffy earworms, “Sleeping in the Mountains” would be equally at home in a pixelated racing game from the 90s. The high tempo and disorderly atmosphere are furthered by the lo-fi treatment of the vocals, spawning a whirlwind of a jam. The main synth motif returns for one last hoorah before the song ends as abruptly as it began.

One of the main facets of egg punk is its satirical nature, and while it revels in raging against the edgy seriousness of certain other punk bands, the forced simplicity can sometimes fall flat. Case in point—”Strike it while it’s hot” is the only legible lyrical section of “Red Hot Iron,” the third song on the album. The oversaturated vocal effect can lead to ear fatigue after a while, and the bassline and guitar are uninspired at best. The frantic pace means you’ll be bobbing your head, but you’ll be vaguely ashamed to be doing so. It’s understandable why this track plopped in the middle. With a playtime of 1.15 minutes, the listener is offered little room to form an opinion, and it feels like the song lacks any real dedication or personality.

While the “Red Hot Iron” is stuffed to the brim with words no human ear could discern, there’s no need to look up the lyrics on track four. “I Got A Girl (And She’s Got A Problem With You)” is as uncomplicated as it gets, with all four members screaming the name of the song every few seconds. It kicks off with a Blur-like intro and a guitar tone that Jack White would give a pale thumbs up to. The instrumentation then becomes increasingly like The White Stripes before ending with a cute little dissonant solo. “I Got A Girl (And She’s Got A Problem With You)” marks a return to form within Jump To 3D and provides a much-needed relief to the listener. You can’t have your audience getting disillusioned with a genre called ‘egg punk’ after all, can you? There is beauty in simplicity, and this song proves it. 

The final track, “Rabbit Ears,” revels in its use of cheap synth effects from iconic machines such as the old Casio SA vintage keyboards. Distorted bass and a synth line cavort in tandem with an understated drum groove leave you feeling as if you’re being sucked into a campy 80s sitcom on the television (laugh tracks et al). That’s where the strength of this band lies—when they double down on how comfortable they are with sounds that others would brush off as silly. In fact, a majority of the vocal melody follows the keyboard, especially one delicious section where the synth and vocals decelerate chromatically and intertwine sinfully.

The five songs on Jump to 3D evoke images of insouciant teens just looking to have a good time—doing handstands on the sand, screaming into the ether, and making dumb mistakes they’ll remember forever. It’s a simple and comforting combination of tunes and something that helps offset the insufferable braying of musical elitists. The sun is out, and the water’s perfect, so you might as well let the Billiamwave wash over you (no, seriously, Billiamwave is what the band calls their genre of music).

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