FFWD REW

Bonnie “Prince” Billy- Ask Forgiveness

Palace Music/Domino

Will Oldham is no stranger to the world of covers — but in his case it’s more often a matter of near-complete transformation than faithful read-throughs. While the recent The Brave and the Bold covers collaboration with Tortoise didn’t carry much staying power an earlier kick at the covers can (the cheekily titled More Revery ) transformed his targets into material distinctly his own.

For Ask Forgiveness Oldham stamps his by-now perfected persona on a varied group of songwriters from Danzig to Bjork. From top to bottom it’s as typically beautiful and original as we’ve come to expect — particularly the loving rendition of Phil Och’s ‘My Life.’ Too bad Devendra Banhart already beat him in the R. Kelly cover-stakes — Oldham’s run-through of ‘The World’s Greatest’ may be somewhat more listenable but the trick’s already been done.

As a counterpoint to the majestic The Letting Go Ask Forgiveness shows just how skilled unforgettable and unique a performer Will Oldham is. Need further proof? Set both records on an iPod mix and just try to tell the covers from the originals.

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