Review - Joya

Artist: Will Oldham

Will Oldham continues to explore the disaffected persona he developed under the Palace rubric -- not that there's anywhere left to take it. It's still the same near-death whisper/whine that occasionally rouses itself to the level of vague complaint. "Joya" is a little more well-developed than past efforts, with a garnishing second guitar and real drums instead of a drum machine. Since Oldham sticks to his little patch of joyless ground with an almost Puritanical steadfastness, you'll barely notice.

At worst Oldham can be a little precious; even the lyric sheet is offered up with a too-hip-to-bother sigh, in homely type with penned-in corrections and 10 of the 12 songs left untitled. The imaginative listener may be moved to flesh out his motifs of druggy remorse, homoerotic fantasy and the last vestiges of a burdensome religion into something meaningful. Personally, I no longer think it's worth the bother, but if that's your idea of a good time then go for it.

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