on April 2, 2010
I received this release in the mail a few days ago and I've been repeatedly listening to it ever since. The lyrics are intimate and the music rich and sparse at the same time. Many of the songs take some time to register as they don't have an immediate hook but once I stopped waiting for the immediate rush of a hook and provided the album my full undivided attention I felt like I was being enveloped. This is the rare album that manages to be both accessible and challenging at the same time. With time I think it could easily rank near the top of my favorite BPB recordings.
Finally, I can't give Billy all the credit... Emmett Kelly's backing vocals and guitar work are an amazing compliment to these songs. The songs feel almost spur of the moment but these two are in lockstep with one another and present a brilliant collaboration. Highly recommended for BPB fans!
on February 20, 2013
In my estimation this is his best work. After a couple of years of near-non-stop listening to this record I really find very few faults with Wonder Show of the World. Oldham has been criticized in the past for the 2nd half of his records falling a little flat, but in this case the 2nd half of this record is like an entirely different story, and it unquestionably the more harrowing music on a record that starts a little more friendly and a lot more catchy. I had the good fortune of hearing BPB and Emmit Kelley play at McCabe's when they were touring this record and it was even more astounding in person. This is a top 5 all time album for me. I can't decide if I am revolted by the fact there there are only 4 other reviews here, or if I am some kind of special entity that got to see the golden gates that no one else did. Or maybe I just have questionable taste...?
Not sure if this would be a good place to start for an uninitiated fan, but anyone with familiarity of his absurdly prolific catalog will enjoy this, perhaps as much as I do.
on April 1, 2010
I like this record. I find it holds together quite well, is maybe a little less dark than "Beware" (not that I mind dark...), and with the unique addition of the Cairo Band's Emmett Kelly as a wonderful (and amazingly appropriate) match, I can highly recommend it. I must say, and this is something that I am pretty sensitive to, I don't really find it that much more "lo-fi" than some of the other recent albums (Is it the Sea as an obvious exception). I have a nice tube/b&w system and find it tonally correct and full with solid imagining. Not to say I don't like Mark Nevers work - especially on Lie Down - but I don't think this is a badly recorded album. Plus its freaking brilliant that they pressed vinyl. I have not been able to get the song "The Sounds are always Begging" out of my head for freaking days! Well done Will. Thank you.
on November 12, 2013
I got to see BPB and the Cairo Gang perform this album live at Pickathon back in 2010 and it has to be one of the best shows I've ever seen. BPB...red wine...in the woods...at dusk...doesn't get better than that. This recording is incredibly similar to their live show because of how sparse it is. There's tons of well-placed reverb that gives it a haunting feeling; accented by Emmett Kelly, who is one of the best guitarists I've heard in a while. I also think Will's vocals were much better on this album than his previous stuff. "Troublesome Houses" is jaunty and witty as is more epic songs like "Merciless and Great". Huge variety, but they all sound like they belong together.
on March 24, 2010
I bought this yesterday when it came out. It's too soon for me to have on opinion about the lyrical content, but you might like to know the sound of this album is quieter and more lo-fi than other recent offerings.
It's not as lo-fi as Days in the Wake, but not nearly as warm, open and complex as The Letting Go or Lie Down in the Light nor is it as dense as Beware!or Greatest Palace Music.
It's more "WG-squared" (white guy with guitar). I think it's going to prove to be a fine album, although I wish Will would have Mark Nevers record everything he does. (He recorded Master and Everyone and Lie Down in the Light as well as many of Lambchops albums.)
I'll report back later.