Bonnie "Prince" Billy: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - The Letting Go

Drag City

Music Reviews Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Share Tweet Submit Pin
Bonnie "Prince" Billy: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - The Letting Go

The enigmatic Will Oldham sees a lightness

At last, Will Oldham as Bonnie 'Prince' Billy has given us a record of cryptic romanticism to complement the silver-rimmed bleakness of his 1999 masterpiece I See A Darkness.

Oldham's impulses are still arresting—he's unguardedly affectionate ("The backs of your knees conceal me / And your eyeballs / They unreel me / Love comes to me") and, with the same emotional intensity, he's frightening ("A strange form of life / Kicking through windows / Rolling on yards / Hitting in loved ones").

Dawn McCarthy's ethereal voice floats over and under Oldham's too-human warble, creating a raw intimacy throughout, and elements that might seem unspectacular in isolation—acoustic guitar, bass, piano, strings—organically coalesce to form disarmingly subtle arrangements.

Too refined for clichés but unafraid to sing lullabies, Oldham comes off as neither tortured nor naive. In that trembling croon, he gently reminds us that he's just another child of this messy world—broken, expectant.

Also in Music