Hiding behind yet another moniker, Will Oldham's latest release is essentially a repackaging of his contribution to Temporary Residence's Travels In Constants series, a collection of obscure cover versions all indelibly imprinted with Oldham's singular creative vision.
The success of 'More Revery' is both surprising, given that the art of the cover version is prone to musical misdemeanors of the most serious kind, and yet entirely predictable; Oldham has been one of the most profilic and yet most consistently inspired creative forces of the last 20 years. In spirit, his take on these songs is much closer to his recent contender for Album Of The Year, 'Ease Down The Road', than the twisted Appalachian folk he released under the Palace Brothers moniker all those years ago. As such, the arrangements are about as full bodied as we've ever experienced from Oldham; 'Sweeter Than Anything', originally a PJ Harvey song, is given a driven guitar rock makeover, albeit tempered by the tinkle of an off kilter xylophone.
Elsewhere, his take on Bill Withers' 'Same Love That Made Me Laugh' employs the bruised emotional vulnerability at the heart of Oldham's voice to superb effect, the band rising to a stop-start minor chord crescendo that pushes Oldham's singing to it's natural limit, his whisper soaring to a pained, whiskey sodden howl.
The real highlight, however, lies in 'A Dream Of The Sea', penned by The Renderers. The musical backing is lavish, all cascading piano and reverb drenched guitar, while the melody is one of the most refreshingly sharp and simple ever to grace an Oldham recording. The track brims with energy, Oldham displaying a genuinely virtuosic vocal range while his band play louder than ever before, the dual guitar lines flickering with electrical intensity.
'More Revery' doesn't, admittedly, come close to beating Cat Power's 'The Covers Record', a high watermark in the history of the covers album, while the import price, a hefty £8.99 for barely 15 minutes of music, may make this one for collectors only. It remains, however, an invigorating and inspired addition to the Oldham canon.
8Tom Eyers's Score