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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

bonnie

Singer’s Grave A Sea Of Tongues

Spunk

 

Southern enigma Will Oldham announced his new album by circulating a staged interview with his alter ego Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy being at his belligerent best whilst giving away very little information about the latest release.

Singer’s Grave A Sea Of Tongues is essentially a reworking of the previous Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album Wolfroy Goes To Town (and some of the associated b-sides) with a couple of new tunes thrown in for good measure. This revisiting of the tunes sees them blossom from the stripped back shells that they were, to a far more fleshed out and lustrous version whilst keeping Oldham’s  perfectly imperfect voice the focus.

Quail And Dumplings may not be a real life delicacy, but Oldham is as believable as ever giving the tune an impassioned work over. The tune that was already a standout on Wolfroy Goes To Town is given a train beat, understated backing vocals and left of centre violin. The reinterpretation continues as plucked banjo is offered to We Are Unhappy and steel guitar and a choir lift Old Match to a higher plain.

Not since Oldham pulled together a string of Nashville musicians to revisit some of his Palace back catalogue has he sounded so free. Giving these tunes a more obvious country work-over should see Singer’s Grave A Sea Of Tongues held in the upper echelons of his sizeable output.

 

CHRIS HAVERCROFT