Bill Callahan – ‘Dream River’

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‘Dream River’ takes a turn to lush country-soul and sweet, eddying Americana

Bill Callahan’s a charmer. “You looked like worldwide Armageddon/While you slept” he croons on ‘Javelin Unlanding’, before requesting his lover not perish “just yet/and leave me alone on this journey round the sun”. Callahan’s early work as Smog painted him as a lo-fi sex case, but of late he’s adopted a sweeter, eddying Americana, and ‘Dream River’ takes a turn to lush country-soul. ‘The Sing’ is arch of wit (“The only words I said today/Are ‘beer’ and ‘thank you’”). But the eddying ‘Ride My Arrow’, with Callahan muttering about “the taste of pilgrim guts”, suggests something sinister lurks in the depths of ‘Dream River’. Relax and float downstream, but never turn your back on your companion. You might end up sleeping with the fishes.

Louis Pattison

Details

Record label: Drag City