Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Matt Sweeney and Bonnie Prince Billy - Superwolf

For this album, released in 2005, Bonnie Prince Billy teamed up with Matt Sweeney, who had recorded with Zwan.  The results are among the fullest sounding, and most musical produced by Oldham.  My Home Is The Sea is a kind of rollicking, rock song, lurching back and forth across riffs.  It's followed up by the gentle, melodic, shimmering Beast for Thee, then more moody guitars introduce What Are You?.  This latter track contains lyrics with 'ear-grabbing' lines like "to take you over my knee and spank you mercilessly", sung so sweetly by Oldham and Sweeney you end up doing a WTF, a kind of double-take.  It's a hugely tuneful and melodic opening three songs.

After this the quiet lulls and crashing guitars of Goat and Ram move the album in another direction momentarily.  The musicianship on this album is a joy, Lift Us Up features a terrific guitar solo, while the harmonies on Rudy Foolish, unlike Oldham's work as Palace, are almost wilfully in tune.  Only Someone Running is more rustic, featuring country fingerpicking, with some jaunty whistling thrown in.

Towards the end, Blood Embrace, the penultimate track on the album is something of a centrepiece.  At nearly eight minutes long, its creeping, tension-building guitar figure gently unfurls in a manner evoking Neil Young's Down by the River.  The album finishes with the blues-folk of I Gave You.

Highly recommended for anyone curious about Will Oldham, definitely one of the more 'musical' albums he's been involved with.