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Bill Callahan Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle

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Whether released under his Smog moniker or his given name, Bill Callahan's albums are always haunting, fairly dark, and candid, dealing with the questions of life, death and existence frankly and humorously. But his latest, Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, is more accessible, at least musically. Callahan has said that this was one of his most expensive records to make. That's obvious from the album's rich sonic texture, full of strings and brass, organs and piano. The work is full of metaphorical allusions to creatures gentle ("The Wind and the Dove") and ravenous ("All Thoughts Are Prey to Some Beast"). But throughout, its thoughts are on the departed and the poisonous. "The eagle shrieked, I'm alone!" he sings. These songs may have sprung from his parting with fellow indie-folker Joanna Newsom, but Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle will be remembered long after the gossip is forgotten. 5 out of 5 stars

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