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I See a Darkness

Bonnie "Prince" Billy

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Album Review

Bonnie "Prince" Billy's album I See a Darkness seems to pick up where Will Oldham's 1997 album Joya left off; a more melodic style than the veteran Palace listener might be used to. Oldham definitely hasn't abandoned his foundation of mordant lyrics and minimalist arrangements, but he has built a variety of different layers that make this album an emotional and pleasurable listening experience. In "Nomadic Revery," Oldham draws upon his classic Appalachian sound; it's the kind of song that begs you to join in. Oldham has always given the kind of energy to his character's voices that most people are afraid to relate to. This is all too evident in "Death to Everyone," Oldham punches out his bitter poetry in his most somber voice. The album takes its most surprising turn on "Madeleine-Mary," a Celtic-style folk song set to a Rastafarian guitar sound. "Today I Was an Evil One" introduces a horn section that drives home his morbid words in a strangely elegant manner. The album closes with a short and rare love song called "Raining in Darling"; Oldham stretches his voice to its most impressive limits, and the number is touching and hopeful.

Biography

Born: 24 December 1970 in Louisville, KY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After his stints performing as Palace, Palace Songs, Palace Brothers, and under his own name throughout the '90s, by the end of the decade Will Oldham seemed to finally settle on the Bonnie "Prince" Billy moniker as the main outlet for his work. Regardless of the name he used to release his music or the musicians supporting him, Oldham's style remained largely the same, pitting shambling and often sparse music against his creaky, world-weary voice and literate lyrics. The Louisville, Kentucky native...
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