Bonnie Prince Billy
Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You




Like its title suggests, the new Bonnie Prince Billy record Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You doesn’t shy away from nihilism; we encounter a dangerously honest window into the tormented mind. However, unlike more typically stylised descriptions of neuroticism which allow you to distance yourself from the writer, each lyric on this album is genuinely frightening precisely because it so accurately mimics those scary ideas and thoughts that haunt most of us when we feel vulnerable. This can be heard via the beautifully subtle tone of Billy’s voice on the album’s opener ‘Like It Or Not’, which expresses in a ‘let’s not fuck about’ way that, “everyone dies in the end so there’s nothing to hide.” 

However, if you’re like me and you also struggle to listen to too much Townes Van Zandt without thinking you’ve magically turned into a lonesome and desolate cowboy (for reference, I work in Shoreditch and am currently toying with a Pret subscription), don’t be swayed by my former remarks: Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You is also remarkably bright. Third track ‘Bananas’, also accompanied by a beautiful, Michael Hurley-esque stop motion video, is about smooching the said fruit. There’s also a lovely homage to how splendid oak trees are in ‘Willow, Pine And Oak’, as well as a wonderful message in ‘Crazy Blue Bells’ which attends to the belief that it is precisely struggle itself which unites us all: “Someday, when there’s time to sing, a few of us may gather and raise a voice to anything because everything matters.” 

This record stands out because of its incredible thematic range. Such a well-rounded piece of work could only have been made by Bonnie Prince Billy himself, who has clearly lived life through his own fascinating, emotionally charged subjectivity.