Bonnie Prince Billy – Wolf of the Cosmos – Album Review by Killian Laher
Bonnie Prince Billy is not your average artist. This is his second album inside six months where he ‘reinterprets’ other people’s music. After covering merle Haggard, this time he turns his attention to a full cover of singer/songwriter Susanna’s 2007 album Sonata Mix Dwarf. Continuing his wolverine fixation, he’s retitled it as ‘Wolf of the Cosmos’. Where his Haggard tribute foundered, mainly due to over-reverence for the songs, this succeeds, with the unfamiliar to many material given a tasteful countrified treatment.
Intruder sets the tone, understated folk with sparse banjo and moaning violin, not far off Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ soundtrack work. Impossibly moody treatments of Hangout and an epic version of Stay, full of tension, work really well. We also get more upbeat moments such as People Living and the jaunty Demon Dance. But mostly the tracks are the dark and moody, such as For You and Traveling, or the very folky Better Days. The assembled musicians treat the material with sensitivity, no notes are overplayed, allowing the melodies to take centre stage.
If you don’t like country-folk you’ll be allergic to this. But for others, it’s one of the best Bonnie Prince Billy albums for a while.
Track List –
02 Born in the Desert
04 People Living
06 For You
07 Better Days
09 Demon Dance
10 Home Recording
11 We Offer