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Bill Nickson - Thoughts on Love/Grave Songs (Vinyl Review)

Bill Nickson
From left to right: Bill Nickson

Bill Nickson is a rockstar that makes rock music in Liverpool. He is one of the last surviving rock stars and was the only surviving rock star of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Matt Healy. He has just released a vinyl of two of his EPs; Thoughts on Love and Grave Songs. This is a very limited run of 100, so buy them quickly, but make sure to only buy 99 copies as I would like one but I have no money currently as I’m an alcoholic and have spent all my money on big, big beers.

Thoughts on Love is his most recent EP and starts with a track called ‘Thoughts on Love’, a beautiful little song that Bill has accidentally given the same name as the EP. Come on Bill, you’ve already used that title! No bother, it’s an incredibly sweet song so he can be let off for this. It’s followed by the track ‘Fast Rider’. This is one of my favourite Bill tunes. I am easily won over when an artist says their own name in a song (‘My name is Bill and I like/To race fast cars on my bike’), however even aside from this it’s one of his more upbeat and catchy songs.

‘Zero’ is louder and more epic than the previous two tracks. The lyrics are apologetic (‘Sorry to my family/For all the things I put them through’) and make for one of his most honest tracks. ‘Mind’ is even more emotional, a cathartic journey through the brain of Bill. The final track ‘So Tired’ leaves me so emotionally devastated that my hands are clammy and I struggle to flip the record which is good because the record comes with a free pair of ‘record flipping gloves’, that allow me to to flip it with ease. Thanks ‘record flipping gloves’!

In classic rock star tradition, the second side of the vinyl features a second EP, 2021’s Grave Songs. It even features the track ‘What To Say’. ‘What To Say’ has come to feel like a hit single to me. I’ve seen Bill play live so many times now that I always assume this is a radio hit as I’ve become so familiar with it. Even after all these listens it is still one of his best songs, and it worries me that it isn’t a hit single.

And every other track on the EP lives up to that hype I have attributed to ‘What To Say’, so don’t worry, ok? ‘Are You Alright?’ is a short and pretty send off that makes you want to ask the same question to the songwriter, followed by a very big hug. ‘Grave’ fixes the one mistake from the previous EP of accidently naming a track the same as the EP name (slightly different here, surely a step in the right direction?). ‘Better Days’ takes its time and gradually implements elements of alt country. ‘In My Head’ is a perfect opener and features some of Bill’s best lyrics (‘This is just the start/Of a number of ramblings about my heart.’)

The vinyl itself is lovely as well. As I say, I am a poor, poor man and don’t own it yet, however Aidan has bought it and we listened to it the other day and it’s a lovely, crisp pressing. The art of both the EPs looks fantastic on either side of the sleeve and to top it all off, there is a little poster of Bill inside. Obviously, we are in the process of getting a bespoke frame made for the poster to hang above our fireplace beside the urns that house the ashes of more cowardly rock stars that died rather than release a vinyl.

Thoughts on Love/Grave Songs is out now on Defend Vinyl Records.

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