matt sweeney & bonnie ‘prince’ billy – superwolf

a woman swimming under, her warm breath sending thunder on to parts south

i forgot how amazing this album is. music like this was reason enough for me never to have to go near drugs… these songs change your perception, your heart rate, your hormones, your emotions.

i recall this album hitting me the moment i first listened to it very early in 2005. not a single song lags behind the others. it is full of dirty little innuendo and some outright sex scenes such as music can produce. it’s a record made for making love and losing love. and you see many of the lyrics below that say even nothing for the aural pleasure these guys can give, high and low.

course, this was the collaboration between sweeney (with the pajo/chavez/zwan connections) and will o. no other body of the latter’s work ever sounded like this before or after. and it landed for me a mere six months after the painful end of one of my most important relationships. those highs and lows were still fresh and raw.

the first song, my home is the sea, starts vaguely quietly but then rollicks with some of the most remarkable geetar riffs ever, truly. it sets a scene for the rest. arms enfold, you are home, devote to being kind, i’m in love and there’s music playing, and when i wrap around you ain’t it wonderful i found you?

it has always warmed me, made me know that every feeling i ever had, no matter how filthy or reductionist, was right. this is what i meant when i said that will could sing about sin imbued with guilt, but totally got the humanness and ‘here and now’ of loving life and simple human relationships, and knowing that few will last.

i mean, seriously? filigreed guitar (low electric and acoustic) and some piano organ allows him to sing: and at home on wednesday morn, astride my horny horn, you’ll be in glory born and i will be a beast for thee.

matt gets in on the action and, with spectacularly simple melody, sings some of the most remarkable lyrics written, i think:

what are you waiting for if not for me?
what are you waiting for? it must be me
to take you over my knee and spank you mercilessly
i can do that, oh you’ll see
and every day will be like free, and sweet adventure you will see
and i’ll have you and you’ll have me
on a bench with your twisted fingers in me
in the rain with my sundress torn off of me
sliding down grassy slopes to where we can be alone
you say i am evil, you know that i am stupid
i don’t appear giving and i don’t appear lucid
yet i give you all, the truth is i give you everything

through a patch of darkness across the midsection of the album, will arrives at blood embrace. this is such an affecting lamentation on being replaced by someone else in loving another. i sang this often to those boys who ended up with other girls. they couldn’t compete – yet they won. in hindsight, i did – or at least i didn’t lose – but that made no fucking difference at the time. it was about having given all of one’s self and the other having taken it all without recompense.

and so this album charts the beautiful start of a relationship, where everything is enveloping and cheeky, loving, sexually charged… through to the painful end and the gaping hole that’s left. i gave you is a desolate place to finish, and yet it diminishes nothing of the journey that the album has taken. it makes it all the more beautiful and complete.

if this is an album you have never heard, i really think you should…

i am under your spell, you will have me i reckon


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