Billy Nomates Turns the Melancholy of a Long Burning Breakup Into an Upbeat Pop Song of Acceptance on “Blue Bones”

Billy Nomates, photo by Cindy Sasha

When you hear Spencer Jones’s (Big Babies, Upstart Crow) character mutter something about a “twat” taking up both parking spaces as he comes back to his flat in the music video for “Blue Bones” you might be excused for thinking Billy Nomates’ lively indie rock single is about camaraderie in a relationship facing challenges. And to some extent it is. The upbeat guitar line and smoothly dynamic arrangements of the song are reminiscent of a mid-80s Talking Heads tune but the clever couplets and the resigned acceptance that the relationship is not just in trouble but has essentially faded away. When Nomates sings lines like “You just don’t turn me on like you used to” and how the bond over being miserable and downtrodden in life now simply lacks the sparkle with “Maybe we were both born blue but it just doesn’t turn me on like it used to,” the songwriter recalls some of Dolly Parton’s finer, more pointed yet somehow still classy moments. And touches like the coins on Jones’ eyes near the beginning of the interview speak to director Tia Salisbury’s gift for sprinkling scenes with poetic detail even as she depicts working class angst with such color and clarity. Watch the video for “Blue Bones” on YouTube and follow Nomates on Spotify.