Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Pond Scum
There are no Peel sessions anymore - that tradition was buried in the pyramids with John Peel himself upon the great man's passing. Of the thousands left in the wake, six are ascribed to Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - and of those six, three have been combined to form the deeply congruous experience of Pond Scum. A span of eight years is covered, in reverse, and many chestnuts are rolled out, freed of former contexts with sparse arrangements. '(I Was Drunk at the) Pulpit' feels, ten years from inception, more vividly worn; 'Death to Everyone' is loosed from its frame, the bones decoupled and spread out, giving the song a re•Ââective air (as opposed the biting declamation of the original); 'Arise, Therefore' adapts its metronomic base, the evangelic twist of its roots made palpable. With the centre of the performance in stark relief, the gnomic qualities of two 'Get On Jolly' pieces are intensi•ed. Further accenting the devoted spirit of this collection is the inclusion of Bonnie's take on Prince's 'The Cross', as well as the previously-unreleased original 'Beezle.' Bonnie's lone shadow casts over this lot, accompanied on the •rst four tracks by David Heumann, but otherwise playing solo through a set of original songs (and two covers) representing a decade of progress in the almost unbearably intimate-yet-unknowable manner that was so often the vibe of those strange and wondrous days. Layers peel to reveal the subtle artistry and refinement contained within these sessions.