Album review

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Beware

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Beware

This album apparently marks a rare occasion when Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (that’s singer/songwriter Will Oldham) is to be found playing the game. He’s broken his customary cover and done major interviews – a declaration of alt.country glasnost apparently designed, with what some might see as his typical perversity, to prove to his record company he will sell no more records than normal by doing so.

Beware has no hint of such guile. Warmed through by pedal steel (the title track, a beautiful tune), and by soulful backing singers (throughout), the impression is periodically of Exile…-era Rolling Stones songs, buffed up to a Nashville shine. If in the past BPB has made death records (I See A Darkness) and love records (Ease Down The Road), Beware is a body record, a playful and intimate piece (the album’s most referenced body part is the stomach) that lyrically and melodically invites you in, where his remote personae have occasionally served to push one away.

JOHN ROBINSON

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Rating: 4 / 10

(Domino)


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