Singers Grave a Sea of Tongues

Bonnie "Prince" Billy
(Drag City)

It’s hard to get a read on Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy. But, truthfully, when he does things like make a ridiculous — yet pretty damn hilarious — music video of the song “Quail and Dumplings” — a track structured like 1960s melancholy folk — off his newest album, “Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues” at a waterpark, there’s no point in overanalyzing it. Because it’s that sort of unpredictability, that strangeness, that gives him his edge. Here, most of the record is revisited and re-conceptualized from his past work, which makes you remember just how thoughtful and precise he can be. The last two tracks — “New Black Rich (Tusks)” and “Sailor’s Grave a Sea of Sheep” — are the only original tunes; both are slow, sparse, introspective and well-arranged. But, essentially, “Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues” keeps one simple thing at the forefront of your brain: no musician is quite like Will Oldham.