tortoise & bonnie ‘prince’ billy – the brave and the bold

this was one of the albums my sister picked as a potential subject when she was here a month ago. i wish she was here to write this. i think we both fall on the side of enjoying a handful of the songs, rather than the whole creation – i’ll have to ask her.

there are a number of popular songs on this album of covers combining the two remarkable scenes i have mentioned before as parallel – 1990s chicago and louisville. that it came in 2006 of recordings from a few years prior was of no mind. as an aside, if i didn’t say it before, there was one link that connected the towns and the bands – dave pajo.

it plays to my lack of history about music. in my every day to the point of this album, i didn’t know the songs that appeared; i didn’t even recognise them in a subliminal way. so to me, they were new. could they be judged as originals against the measures established for both artists?

it’s hard to say yes, because the songs don’t sound like either, and there’s something just not quite right. i mean, i know it’s will’s voice – i know less convincingly that it’s the full suite of tortoise (ex-pajo, who by this stage was entrenched in solo world when he toured australia with his bells).

the spaciness of many of the songs, which is probably the greatest influence of tortoise, covers territory of the musical history that makes the songs feel experimented on. the main occasions it works, oddly or not, are on elton john’s song daniel and love is love by lungfish.

the songs that i can’t help but enjoy, regardless of their birth to others or how different they might be compared to the originals (unknowingly to me), are the joy that is cravo é canela, the inevitably excellent writing undertaken by bruce springsteen to create thunder road in the first place, and the sheer wall of guitar noise and keyboards on love is love.

but ultimately, the whole exercise should be revisited with better songs and a few more years of perspective from all contributors. in and of itself, the world is no better or worse for having this in existence. yet there’s this nagging sense that it should have had an exponential effect on brilliance.

love must be love to let time begin


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