cwas#13 / cwas#12 / cwas#11 / cwas#9 / cwas#8 / cwas#7
cwas#6 / cwas#4 / all reviews / search
Bonnie "Prince" Billy | I See A Darkness (Domino)
Like a fugitive from justice, Will Oldham has switched pseudonyms again and I See A Darkness sounds like his most tender album yet. While keeping a grip on his brand of gothic folk, Oldham has loosened the cloak of contrivance that drapes over his past efforts and given way to something more sincere than the arch tales of faux hick baseness we're accustomed to. That drunken quaver is as endearing and irritating as ever: sometimes infantile and out of control - deliberately losing the battle to hold those notes - sometimes weary and aged, as on Another Day Full Of Dread where he cockily pledges, 'by dread I'm inspired, by fear I'm amused.' The melodies have the same antiquated strength to them, notably A Minor Place which recalls anthemic early single Ohio River Boat Song, with its double-tracked vocals and slapped snare, but here his heart is worn somewhere near his sleeve. With their loose, measured crescendos of organ and guitar, Oldham's songs manage to be both downbeat and uplifting. 'Death to everyone is gonna come,' he sings, making it sound like a cause for celebration.
CWAS #4 - Winter 1998/9 - The Lost Issue