We check out the new stuff from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang
The Wonder Show of the World 4/5 It’s the most bare-bones ‘gang’ imaginable, but if singer-songwriter and guitarist Emmett Kelly is your man, he’s maybe all you need. The latest from brilliant, enigmatic and often plain weird US alt-blues/countryfolkie Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy– who has utilised Kelly’s talents on every album since 2006’s ‘The Letting Go’ – certainly suggests as much.
The Wonder Show… is every bit as dazzling as its title implies, but gee-wow trickery is hardly BPB’s way and the pair cast their broodingly beautiful spell with just guitars (of both the twangily electric and finger-picked acoustic kind) and vocals, whether unadorned, reverbed or entwined in celestial harmonies. You barely notice the near-total absence of other instruments, so alluringly plaintive are these 10 songs, at once fragile and robust in their intimacy. There’s a shift away from the swarthiness of recent LPs, with ‘Merciless and Great’ and the sublime ‘Someone Coming Through’ cause to swear fresh allegiance. Sharon O’Connell. Available now online.