Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang - The Wonder Show Of The World

He goes by many names, but his world-weary vocal is unmistakable. William Oldham a.k.a. Palace Music, Palace Bros, Crystal Palace (actually not that one) and Bonnie Prince Billy (amongst others) has always been prolific in his releases, with little time passing between each musical outpouring. For The Wonder Show Of The Wolrd he has teamed up with Emmett Kelly and Shahzad Ismaily (known here as The Cairo Gang) who he worked with on the Lie Down In The Light album to record in a stripped down fashion.

Mr. Oldham has had much collaboration over the years, with varying success, but this is up there with the best of them, resulting in ten gentle blues songs delivered straight from the heart. From the first bars of ‘Troublesome Houses’ with its opening line of "I once loved a girl / But she couldn't take that I visited Troublesome Houses" it's apparent that this is a classic Oldham production. Guitars meander into one another, both electric and acoustic taking their own path against a backdrop of restrained percussion. Standout moments are 'Where The Wind Blows', which owes as much to the space between the notes as the notes themselves. Then there is the blues delivered as only he can on 'Go Folks, Go', his voice allowed to take centre stage - with such intensity that the slightest change of volume sends massive ripples through this lo-fi pond.

His recent outings as an actor seemed to have refreshed his musical palette. He comes to this project as fresh as he has sounded in some time, doing what he does best. After nearly 20 years of making music the fire still burns on.



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