Collection: 9. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I See a Darkness

My beleaguered "generation" and I may attempt to protect ourselves from emotional harm (and our grim inheritance) by stockpiling absurdities, but we will probably still go prostrate during a moment of disarming simplicity, pathetic mortality, or genuine romance. I See a Darkness is rife with such moments (though the exultant finale of "Nomadic Revelry" defies categorization). Will Oldham's latest moniker is his canniest since back when he went by variations on Pushkin, and under this banner, his work has retained the bawdiness, hybridity, and compassion that characterized the Russian poet. In this guise Oldham exploits a salty freedom and an epicurean brio; on this album, his least "country," he was a bulimic Falstaff milking medieval dread/mirth. Sung sans-warble, these non-sequiturial folk anthems, seasoned with Robotussin Skynyrd licks, confirmed that Oldham is indie's detached and brilliant DeNiro. (After all, the Bonnie Prince Charlie of history was called "The Young Pretender.") A masterpiece of comic negation, "Death to Everyone" invokes a holocaust, "coming kids," "hosing," and how "balls burn." That the late Johnny Cash rendered ISAD's title track as a sobriety hymn only deepens the song's mystery, as well as the album's sense of play. --William Bowers / Pitchfork.com
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  • BONNIE "PRINCE" BILLY - I SEE A DARKNESS (USED VINYL UNSEALED UNPLAYED)
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