US - Kentucky - Full Moon 105 - 04/24/05
Bonnie Prince Billy and Matt Sweeney
Will Oldham challanged old time play-mate Matt Sweeney (ex member of Billy Corgan's shit-band "Zwan" and some other indie bands) to write music to some of his lyrics, and Superwolf is the outcome. New material out of Oldham is always interesting, although I'd never heard any of Sweeney's music before. Here Sweeney's songwriting is complicated, matching Oldham's stanzas with their many ins and outs. Unfortunately, this record doesn't offer enough fetching melody to counter the meandering nature of the structure, and the songs are immemorable. The guitar work is technically good, but again, it's lacking a catch: to me it's just melodically and timbrally unimaginative. This isn't supposed to be pop, I understand, but throw me a bone here. And this is Will Oldham we're talking about. Honestly I've come to expect way more out of him than Superwolf offers. Even his lyrics, which usually are incredible, are spotty on Superworf. For one thing, there's way too much God talk!
And while there are some good moments, these lyrics seem less thought-full than I want from Oldham. Maybe I'm just not fond of Matt Sweeney's effect, but this album was definitely a let-down. Nonetheless, it's great to hear Oldham's voice again. Still waiting for his next great record.
Copyright © 2005 Eugene Ward