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This review is from: The Letting Go (Audio CD)
Will Oldham welcomes Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables on guest-vocal duty for this frosty release, which is paradoxically easier to love than its predecessor, Master And Everyone, because it is harder to love. Master And Everyone was a very able collection of safe, alt.folk/country Americana, The Letting Go is much colder, much more sparse, yet at the same time more inviting. In toning down the country, and returning to the evocative, acoustic singer-songwriting of earlier releases (notably, I See A Darkness), Oldham has here crafted an album representative of where it was recorded and where he is heading.
Iceland has warm people and large swathes of unearthly, inhospitable terrain. It also produces oddball musicians like Björk, but also Mugison - a sort of Artic Daniel Johnston. The madness of the surroundings must have rubbed off on Oldham because `Cold & Wet' recalls Mugison's whimsy; `Then The Letting Go' employs McCarthy in a `Walking In The Air'-type, ethereal falsetto to recall Aled Jones at his finest.
Yet there are still hints at the underlying origins of the record, `I Called You Back' hints at country in the vocal, `The Seedling' comes close to shadowing I See A Darkness's title track's sweeping and purposeful majesty. That it is also swathed in glacial allegory is even more beguiling.
There are only slight detractions, perhaps in being a little overweight on its diet of roll mop. Weighing in a little shy of the hour mark, lesser numbers like the untitled, textual outro could have been dropped. Warm and cold, only a master like Oldham could manage it. Long live the Prince.