Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy - I See A Darkness

Truly special
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy - I See A Darkness
It’s hard enough keeping up with Will Oldham’s output as it is, what with a new release putting in an appearance every couple of months, so whether anyone is fully able to digest six additional re-releases from his vast canon is debatable. What is not in question, however, is the remarkably consistent quality of so much of his output. ‘I See A Darkness’ marked the first release proper as the Bonnie Prince and is as good a yardstick as any for judging this man’s intoxicating work.

Imbued with a hushed sense of the forlorn, the album captures Oldham’s creaky but emotive vocal, backed by the hypnotic combination of lulling percussion, maudlin guitar and measured but melodic piano refrains. It is a masterful articulation of optimism in the face of loss and captures the velvety warmth of wallowing in one's emotions. The title track gently builds to a state of melodic euphoria, stating “I hope that someday, buddy, we have peace in our lives.”

While later albums would go on to ramp up the country jangle from time to time, this raw, enchanting musician has rarely faltered and much of what makes the Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy catalogue so truly special is present here. Ironically, for someone so prolific, Oldham is truly an artist capable of saying so much with so little.

9/10

Words by GARETH JAMES

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-