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Breaking through the dirt and shooting upward into our atmosphere is a new variety of exotic Bonnie Prince Billy plant. Stronger. Stinkier. It blooms in low light and cold but thrives in the sun as well, showing enticing spots and eating small creatures as they wander into its jaws. They had it coming, they were weak...and you re next! Beware. Though Beware shares spit with its immediate predecessor, Lie Down in the Light, its reach is longer, its arches more grandiose. Where fiddle and steel contribute their rustic timbre alongside guitars and voices, a thickening thud of low tone rolls beneath, giving the record a bottom that s fun to watch bounce in new clothes. This indensifies the air and heralds Beware as Bonny s most ambidextrous record to date even more so than The Letting Go! A listen or two through and you too may conclude that this could also be the great Bonnie Prince Billy contempo-country record though, as always, the Prince goes his own special way, even when climbing the charts with brawny arms and classic titles like I Don t Belong to Anyone, You Can t Hurt Me Now, and I Am Goodbye.
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I like the twangy places, melodies of all the songs, rhythm...it's all just excellent. This was not the normal music I used to listen to, but I'm a fan now.....
His albums always had their fair share of moments. Critics has often cited a lo fi mix of introspective Neil Young cut with an Apalachian echo of Leonard Cohen. At worst, it's been a turtle paced warble of esoteric ambiguities.
As prolific & impulsive as Oldham is, he has often proved himself to be equally erratic. As mellow as he can be, some are content to let him coast along business as usual. Personally, I've wondered what would happen if he put some oomph! into it & see what happens.
Well, am I'm happy to report that just what he's done here.
This is the Bonnie Prince's most refreshing, energetic & focused record to date. The sound of shaking the sleep off or to quote, I Don't Belong To Anyone, "time has come to lay childish things to the dirt".
Or perhaps the whole album is best summed up with the anthem, Life's Work: "I take this load on/it's my life's work/to bring you into the light/from out of the dark."
Kicking off with Beware Your Only Friend, with its backing chorus & cricketing fiddles, one gets the sense that he's thrown open the windows of a musty attic & let some fresh air in.
You Can't Hurt Me Now follows laced with a moody, vintage pedal steel. All of which makes this Oldham's most unabashedly Country record since Sings Greatest Palace Music. But where the Nashville stylings on Greatest came off as a bit too self-conscious, here things sound organic & genuine.
That said, the album's closer, Afraid Ain't Me ends things on an unexpected Psyche Folk Jazz fusion note that brings John Martyn's Solid Air to mind.
Elsewhere, playful touches of trumpet, flute & sax help make Beware one of the most musically diverse offerings in the Oldham catalogue.
Here is Oldham at his most accessible & joyful. A true stand out in a trend setting career that while prolific, on occasion seems willfully arbitrary.
It's clear Bonny has found his happy place...
The last few records suggest he's tremendously elated.
His last three releases show a new Bonnie having fun.
BEWARE is a fork in the road, but without such a cliche title.
Climbing Palace walls, spiral staircases and igniting the sea.
Come inside and relax, but Beware of your surroundings.
Seek the Wolf in thyself...
There is a deeper message than what's on the surface.
Beware your only friend
My Life's Work
I Don't Belong To Anyone
There Is Something I Have To Say
Afraid Aint Me
I Am Goodbye -
sounds like it could have been right at home after Easy Does It
on his previous stellar effort "Lie Down In The Light"
In fact, BEWARE, almost feels like a continuation of "Lie Down"
Even "Is It The Sea" carries on this excellent muse.
Very Enjoyable !! Fun to be had by all...
It's ALL great... I have found something in every song.
My instant classics are really just a scratch to the greatness
and stability of this album.. check out Death Final !!
or Without Work, You Are Nothing.. You Are Lost...
This is a solid album with eclectic sound and visions...
If you are here then you already know Bonny
and this album does not disappoint..
If you are waiting for Bonny to go radio pop, this isn't for you.
To The Musically Inclined or those reaching for it...
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !! ~~~ Top Of The Line Entertainment