Bill Ricchini

Ordinary Time

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Though singer/songwriter Bill Ricchini recorded Ordinary Time, his debut album, in his South Philadelphia bedroom, he is not interested in the lo-fi aesthetic. Guitar, drums, trumpet, piano, cello, organ, tambourine, sleigh bells, accordion, and a toy xylophone all make appearances on Ordinary Time, yet they posses an unassuming quality, one that allows the album to sound completely full yet remain just above a whisper. Through 18 tracks, only seven of which run longer than three minutes, Ricchini asserts a quiet power in his arrangements and melodies, reminiscent of his influences, the Beatles and the Beach Boys. But the heart of the record lies in Ricchini's particular affinity for the fuzz guitars, keyboards, catchy basslines, and tambourines of '60s surf pop, all the more ironic for a record that is set in the winter. On "Julie Christie" tambourines and keyboards, fuzz and bass guitars shake out a '60s surf pop sound while the refrain, "You look just like Julie Christie/And I feel just like Terry Stamp," invokes the names of the iconic '60s movie stars whose supposed romance Ray Davies depicted in the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset." "Truth and Secrets" opens with the sounds of a shaker and a Latin acoustic rhythm and contains one of the most striking lines on the record, "All my lies/Just flatten out/Since you've found out/What I'm about," before closing with an accordion solo. The song and its title speak to the record's themes. While Ricchini remarked in the liner notes that Ordinary Time is a summer record about the winter because he recorded the album in August, that only hints at the album's larger comment on the dual meaning of everything. Ordinary Time is also a record about memory, and how can memory be discussed except in terms of truth and lies, remembering and forgetting? Even the title evokes that duality. Ordinary Time is named for the Catholic Church's term for the calendar days that do not fit into the Advent or Lent seasons, as though, for the faithful, nothing could be more ordinary than time that falls outside the mystery and wonder of Christmas and Easter. But Ricchini sheds a glorious light on the quotidian, showing that the details, humor, and emotions that lives are made of carry on, even in the most ordinary of time.

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