Willie J Healey confirms debut album & new single, ‘People And Their Dogs’
Released on National Anthem / Columbia Records on August 18th
“Utterly, perfectly absurd” Noisey
“Willie J Healey turns going nowhere into a saintly virtue” The Beat
“Equal parts John Otway and Mac Demarco…wholly fab” Sunday Times
“Bigger and bolder…Healey stands out from the crowd” The Line of Best Fit
“Hearty, lackadaisical rock songs…a lot of fun” Stereogum
“Brilliantly catchy…the best voice we’ve heard in a while” i-D
Willie J Healey has confirmed plans for debut album ‘People And Their Dogs’, with the title track and new single also available today (and the record due for release on National Anthem/Columbia Records on August 18th). This surrounds recent single ‘Lazy Shade Of Pink’, which is currently playlisted at 6Music, Radio X, has picked up support across Radio 1 and Spotify. Following recent sold-out headline shows in London and Oxford – plus dates supporting the likes of Palace, Sundara Karma, and Hinds – further plans for ‘People And Their Dogs’ will follow soon.
From its gruff opening roar – “I sleep in / ‘cos I stay up late” – ‘People And Their Dogs’ is a wry observation of life on four legs and two, and an effortlessly-crafted cut of slacker-rock from Willie J Healey. It also formally introduces Willie’s debut album, which he has written, self-produced and brought into vivid life across a series of acclaimed tracks these past couple of years. What emerges is a document of the artist as a young man, and – musically – a total coming of age.
At a time when the indie landscape seems weighed down by its own past, the idiosyncratic alternative-pop of ‘People & Their Dogs’ seems curiously invigorating and subversive. Drawing on a love for heroes like The Modern Lovers, Bruce Springsteen and Modest Mouse, but far from being a pastiche, Healey’s evolution has seen him find a distinct, occasionally-eccentric musical voice. He first started writing songs in earnest having left college, when he worked for his dad as a plasterer for a couple of years whilst travelling around his everybody-knows-everybody town in a battered old limo by way of eye-catching transportation. Yet it’s a sound which has feels suitably panoramic, and pan-Atlantic: equal inspiration comes from cult film classics, The Girl Next Door, and subverting small-town tedium wherever you’re from into charismatic lyricism. The results feel warmly familiar and strikingly relevant in their celebration of youth, and the modern problems of young manhood; of the outsider, escape, and the complex feelings of love and antipathy in our relationships with each other. Of people, in other words, and their dogs.
‘People And Their Dogs’ is – Willie says – “a record for anyone who likes analogue recordings of songs about feeling strongly about everyday things, like being in your bedroom or watching people walk past your window. Feeling like you’re on the outside looking in & being cool with it.” It’s true to himself, constructed by himself, and mostly for himself, but it’s a sound that suggests Willie J Healey will have no trouble casting into a much larger pond with a body of work as accomplished as this.
Watch the video for ‘People And Their Dogs’