Album Review: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang „The Wonder Show Of The World”

Album Review: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang „The Wonder Show Of The World”

DRAG CITY – WGCD257 – 2010

Prolific is Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.  There always seems to be a new album.  He’s one of those artists who is always writing and never settling.  Pigeonholing Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is hard and „The Wonder Show Of The World” makes it harder still.  This has warmth and a great healthy dose of love and humanity.  It’s the most accessible album to date.  Hey, the words may still teeter on the outlandish, but the songs and melodies are warm and welcoming.

It would be fair to assume from the title that there’s a band at work here, but there isn’t. There’s just Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy playing guitars and Shahzad Ismaily playing bass (and a bit of percussion). But oh the guitar playing… it’s just wonderful. If ever an album made a case for multi-track recording and overdubbing then „The Wonder Show Of The World” is it.  This is guitar playing that leaves spaces in the melody big enough to walk into. Most of the songs are acoustic guitar but every now and then there’s a lead line of electric, played with such a touch of gentleness and minimalism.  There is so much space, perfect voids you can fill in yourself, with colour and imagination – and the tone, just exquisite. Then there are the vocal harmonies that just take off and soar, choir-like through songs.  There is something very special about The Wonder Show Of The World.  It may be the most complete Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album yet. It’s exceptional.  Nigel Finn


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