BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY i see a darkness

BONNIE 'Prince' BILLY I see a darkness

BONNIE 'Prince' BILLY I see a darkness

To paraphrase Spinal Tap, “how much more dark can this record get?” Often with the aid of a full band, Will “Palace” Oldham’s latest incarnation contains more bleak and brittle tunes that consistently hit the mark despite his general avoidance of studied aim. Oldham is sometimes dogged for his wounded vocal bleatings and a-production aesthetic that’s often non-existent, but I See A Darkness finds his frail voice and spare, scattered backing more effective than affected. Lyrically, the album isn’t as sullen as might be expected; Oldham offers a few light-gray linings (silver would be asking too much) among the album’s dark clouds. “A Minor Place” opens the record with a sort of humble conrdence, lifted by a sing-along refrain that owes a debt to threadbare spirituals. Some fuzzy electric guitar occasionally adds a jolt, but Oldham’s strength lies in his ability to trust his meek voice and allow it to inherit the respect it deserves.

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