Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | WIGCD222 | Released: 17/05/08
We've seen the darkness, we've eased down the road, we've been master and everyone, we've let go and asked forgiveness and now Bonnie 'Prince' Billy is letting the sun shine in so we can Lie Down In The Light.
We're talking about a brand-new twelve-song album of excellent new songs and sounds, bristling with guitar strings and laced with harmonies, Lie Down In The Light is the brightest album to date from the Bonnie 'Prince'. Brisk tempos skip among his signature slower numbers and ballads. Bonnie’s vocals are among his most expressive: carefully nuanced, singing all up and down his range, showing him at a judiciously dynamic and tuneful apex.
Coloring the sound is a subtle backdrop of percussive slaps and shakes (but nary a drum kit), touches of keys and steel, delicate harmony-vocal arrangements and other sweet surprises that might send some sad-sack fans back to their auto-erotic dungeons, fresh toys in hand.
Lie Down In The Light features Bonnie repeat players Paul Oldham and Emmett Kelly and also benefits from the multi-instrumental presence of Shahzad Izmaily, who works percussion, piano, guitar, banjo and the mysterious, sensual "row of wenches" sorry, we mean mysterious, sensual "row of wrenches". New (duet) partner Ashley Webber forges her own presence next to Bonnie in a pair of fantastic turns. Additionally, some of Nashville's finest appear in between the band‘s strings and harrows, adding light (and yeah, we see a little darkness too) wherever they appear.
The production is driven by deft mixing hands (Mark Nevers in the house!), shading and placing sounds in expert fashion but moreover, Lie Down In The Light is driven by those ever-searching songs of Bonnie, which demand a variety of performances, and gets 'em too.
The gamesome nature of the sound is by no way at odds with his lyrical cornerstones of contemplation and scrutiny; instead the fusion invites you to consider the life plight in a lithe and forgiving manner that may not occur to our younger, former (future) selves.
The light that shines from this revelation is one we'll gladly lie down in and bask in all its glory.