"Nature, makes us, for ourselves".
The music on Bonnie Prince Billy's latest rustic folk outing starts melodically enough, before embracing woodwind and the suitably gentile lines "may life throw you a pleasant curve". It's on the second track that the rhythmic focus really kicks into gear, loosening the weight of a breathy introduction. "Nature, makes us, for ourselves".
You see, with a track title aim to be storyteliing meets self-help-provoking, this album can be taken kindly to from the first listen. The meanings spread out like fireflies, meeting a warming destination, a natural concave. Bonnie Prince is ast as the governor of a hundred baritones; instruments serve his plans to assist us in becoming calmer, getting happier.
Much of the sound palette is pure rustic folk, a Johnny Cash meets Joanna Newsome quirkiness abounds throughout. There are no female vocals though, only a journeyman's horn of plenty with guitar chops to match. I first heard about BPB, not so humbly around 10 years ago, so I know he's been about the field for a long time. But at the same time, it's as if he's trod a heavy path through folk and country, meaning he understands how to not complicate a tune.
This is most evident on euphoric closing piece "Your Hard Work Is About To Pay Off. Keep On Keeping On". Incidentally the ending is abrupt, leaving the listener craving a second shot of the honey-whiskeyed atmosphere Bitchin Bajas and Billy create. That's how the record feels essentially, like whisky. It's so addictive I can drown in it, but for the luck of the draw, it's only my sorrows that are cleansed.
Mick R. Buckingham