When the world stood still, Wille & The Bandits made music
After their intensive touring schedule was brought to an abrupt halt during the pandemic. With nowhere to play live, they began penning their new album and documenting the changing world around them.
The album was recorded at Sawmills studio on the banks of the River Fowey in Cornwall, which is only accessible at high tide. The isolation of the studio mirrors that of the pandemic and the first part of the album certainly echos this through 'I'm Alive' and 'Without You'.
The band has never really tried to follow trends, but on this album they appear more adventurous, playing with roots rock, adding hip hop and funk grooves, while keeping Wille's lap steel at the core. 'Good Stuff' lightens the mood with some upbeat rock – much needed after a couple of gruelingly brilliant tracks, before continuing with the introspective. There are glimmers of positivity with an ode to Wille's baby daughter on 'Daylight' before steering us towards questioning our own actions, along with the behaviors of those that govern us.
While the album represents new beginnings and lessons we have learned during the last few years, it also deals with closing a door on the past: in the case of the Sawmill, this is quite literal. The iconic studio that birthed Stone Roses' Fools Gold and Oasis’ Definitely Maybe is coming to the end of its life. With the help of engineer John Cornfield and the band's fans, the studio was given a reprieve so the band could make this album.
The tumult of emotion that underpins album number five, makes it the band's best work to date. It's not because they appear more driven or have something more important to say this time, it's because while the world stood still, we were all forced to shift our perspective.