Bonnie “Prince” Billy, The Letting Go

Andy Beta

By Andy Beta

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Letting Go

Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Will Oldham’s most overt “love record.”

For all the Bible Belt welts of damnation coursing like so much brimstone through the early work of Will Oldham's Palace project, somewhere along the way he stopped dog-earing those vengeful Old Testament passages. Recording now as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, he takes his middle name seriously, preferring instead “Song of Solomon” and the licentious pleasures of the flesh. After 2003's Master and Everyone, Oldham lay fallow, releasing covers of his old catalogue and a live album, but with 2006's The Letting Go, Oldham realized his most sonically focused and opulent recording. The most noteworthy addition is Faun Fables'Dawn McCarthy providing some yin for his yang, their voices merging with or echoing one another's love cries. No surprise, then, that this is Oldham's most overt “love record”: the strings (as scored by frequent Björk collaborator Valgeir Sigurdsson) on “Cursed Sleep” as lubricious as those Willie Mitchell once swaddled around Al Green, while the electronic throb of “Lay and Love” makes for the most sumptuous slice of trip-hop this side of Portishead.