Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy - Lie Down In The Light

A wonderfully rewarding showcase of talent that should appeal to both old fans and newcomers alike.

Label: Domino

Rating: 8

When talking to a friend who described Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy as ‘a guy with dreads and a ginger beard’, it didn’t necessarily bode too well. Luckily a more accurate description comes in the shape of the album’s first track which just about sums up the new release from the ever prolific Will Oldham. The aptly titled ‘Easy Does It’ is a joyous little romp through any number of anonymous countryside pubs, all flute whistles, mouth organs and fiddles, that neatly sets the tone for the remainder of the albums twelve tracks. If heartfelt songs about times gone by and distant lovers is your cup of tea, or if you’re simply tired of the slew of self-loathing singer songwriters, ‘Lie Down In The Light’ is a more than welcome breath of fresh air. Simple in structure but never dull, the album takes you on a journey that constantly surprises. Take the slightly nourish feel that ‘For Every Field There’s A Mole’ seems to dish out, the smile inducing campfire acoustic melody of ‘(Keep An Eye On) Other’s Gain, or the 1950s tinged duet ‘You Want That Picture’, the album is a lovingly crafted piece of work that requires a good few listens before it nestles in your consciousness.

There’s something wonderfully old fashioned about the songs on the album. Maybe it’s the intimacy on the title track, reminiscent of Ryan Adams circa ‘Gold’ or the laid back strumming found on a number of occasional but most noticeably on the quietly beautiful ‘You Remind Me Of Something’, the songs could have emerged from anytime in the last four decades. The fact that no one song necessarily stands above the rest is, in this case, credit to the overall standard ‘Lie Down In The Light’ has. ‘I wouldn’t trade my life for someone’s millions’ he sings on ‘Missing One’, and on the evidence showcased here, you’d hope he doesn’t. ‘Lie Down In The Light’ is a wonderfully rewarding showcase of talent that should appeal to both old fans and newcomers alike, eschewing the temptation of mainstream acceptance in favour of the most pleasing slices of acoustic tinged love songs heard in a long while. Just ignore what must be some of the most awful cover artwork seen in the last ten years and keep this on repeat.