Wille & the Bandits - When The World Stood 

Release Date: 27th January 2022

I've had a few singles come my way inspired by the events of the past two years but I think this is the first entire album with a particularly pandemic flavoured vibe. 'When The World Stood Still' is also notable for the fact that it is one of the very last recordings to be made at the infamously famous Sawmills studios in Cornwall so before you've even heard a note you know this is going to be something a little bit special from Wille & the Bandits. 

The album opens with 'Caught in the Middle' and it comes out snarling, ready for a fight and full of rock'n'roll swagger as well as a primeval energy before settling in to a melodic and thoughtful song that errupts in the chorus. 'I'm Alive' brings the organs up in the mix and Wille Edwards' vocals are operating firmly in the Chris Cornell zone which all adds to the rock tones and raw energy. The sheer loneliness and loss on 'Without You' is palpable as the sadness of the acoustic strings give way to bursts of anger and volume - this is catharsis in musical form and full of emotions felt by many during the pandemic. 

The uptempo blues-rock vibes kick in on 'Good Stuff' as the pulsing rhythm section urges the organ and guitar forwards in the most roadtrippy sounding song to come out of the pandemic. 'In This Together' straps on some Thin Lizzy meets Lynyrd Skynyrd energy and takes on division, hate, war and cyber crime whilst making you want to headbang until your neck muscles give out. The real heart of this album comes on 'Will We Ever', a track that tackles the loss of live music, live art and the ideas from decades ago, "Churchill's words; what are we fighting for?" sung out over some swampy, deep-south blues-rock. The pace drops right down to a country inspired slow dance with seductive slide guitar for title track 'When the World Stood Still', a song that could be a sombre anthem for a time when we were all united for one second, "But I always will remember when the world stood still, a freedom came my way that day". 

The groove is back on 'Move Too Fast' as the guitar scratch and organ stabs get under your skin and make you want to move. 'Broken Words' keeps the energy going with that polished yet raw sound and is, quite possibly, the only rock song to include the word agglutinate in the lyrics (probably the first in music but the lyrics of Thrash Metal or Screamo are often lost on me). There is a straight up rock feel to 'Daylight' which will surely be a live favourite while 'Refuge' takes on some 'Joshua Tree'-era U2 energy and a bit of Chris Rea in the vocals and you can easily expect this to go down well on either side of the Atlantic. 

The album comes to an end on 'Solid Ground', a track which meanders and snakes out of the smoke to wrestle with the conflict of being a touring musician who cares about the environment and the world our children will grow up in. This is a brilliantly recorded, written, performed and thought out album from Wille & the Bandits that captures some of the philosophical, emotional and political battles we've been coping with over the past two years and more. The band will now take this on the road and with a fair wind (and numerous negative COVID tests) this one will resonate with people everywhere. 

More information: https://www.facebook.com/willeandthebandits.official 

Live Dates: 

22nd January - St Davids Hall, South Petherton

23rd January - Giants of Rock, Minehead

30th January - Komedia, Bath w/Samantha Fish

31st January - Queens Hall, Edinburgh w/Samantha Fish

1st February - Wylam Brewery, Newcastle w/Samantha Fish

3rd February - Shepherds Bush Empire, London w/Samantha Fish

4th Februrary - Academy 2, Manchester w/Samantha Fish

5th February - Rock City, Nottingham w/Samantha Fish

6th February - Tramshed, Cardiff w/Samantha Fish

7th February - Chalk, Brighton w/Samantha Fish

8th February - KK Steel Mill, Wolverhampton w/Samantha Fish

4th March - The Palladium Club, Bideford

5th March - The Old Bakery, Truro

6th March - The Phoenix, Exeter

9th March - The Musician, Leicester

10th March - Flowerpot, Derby

11th March - The Bullingdon, Oxford

12th March - Philharmonic, Liverpool

16th March - The Continental, Preston

17th March - The Bodega, Nottingham

18th March - The Rum Shack/Hug & Pint, Glasgow

19th March - The Cluny, Newcastle

23rd March - Elsewhere, Margate

24th March - Junction, Cambridge

25th March - The 100 Club, London

26th March - Thekla, Bristol

30th March - Guildhall, Gloucester

31st March - The Greystones, Sheffield

1st April - Town Hall, Selby

2nd April - The Tivoli, Buckley

6th April - The Star, Guildford

7th April - The Robin 2, Bilston

8th April - Arts Centre, Bridgwater

9th April - Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon

20th April - Arts Centre, Barnoldswick

21st April - Nightrain, Bradford

22nd April - The Tivoli, Wimborne

23rd April - Ropetackle Art Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea