Bill Callahan Have Fun With God

[Drag City; 2014]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: dub, psych, easy listening
Others: No Protection, Donald Sutherland…land….land

Even the wispiest of larks can take to the sky. Meandering can be full of purpose, and dub’s obfuscation can simultaneously have a distilling effect.

But Dream River, Bill Callahan’s 2013 album, would never have come to mind as a prime candidate for an extended version. It’s a sultry, groove-filled record, but it’s more groovey than anything befitting the fragmented cool of the dub treatment. But here it is, and even with its lite-psych/dub novelty twinge, this is not a bad companion to one of last year’s best.

I’d give Callahan credit for embracing lush, transportive production, but he’s been doing that for years now. So perhaps the most that can be said for Have Fun With God (It’s been five years since “Faith/Void” suggested “It’s time to put God away — guess it’s time to dig him out again) is that it is reverent of its exceptional source material.

And in the great spirit of dub, its tracks are strangely calming, like an outstretched, unassuming limb that, rather than reaching for anything, only wants to find more space in which to swim (“with a careless mind”). To borrow a bit from another great songwriter, it’s a minor place, and one can easily like its face.

Links: Bill Callahan - Drag City

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