Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Pond Scum
Critic Score
Based on 12 reviews
2016 Ratings: #371 / 760
User Score
Based on 14 ratings
January 22, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Drag City / Label
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NOW Magazine
Primarily alone with his guitar and voice, Oldham is a captivating commander putting across a rare kind of transparent, emotional urgency.
This collection can be read as another example of Oldham's stylistic shape-shifting, yet the relative calm and direct approach of these performances also allows for a straightforward appreciation of his songwriting.
The 405

Though it offers only one "new" song, Pond Scum freshly adds (even more) depth to the Bonnie 'Prince' Billy cannon as if it were another studio album. Looking at Oldham's enormous discography at a distance, it may as well be.


Pond Scum has enough variety to be pleasing to longtime fans and covers enough ground to be a great introduction to the man’s work for newcomers. This one may not end up on many best-of lists this year, but it certainly is a good way of showing why his other records have.


Pond Scum ... may therefore be a fans-only album.

‘Pond Scum’ may be a compilation of sorts, but it’s wonderfully effective as a primer for Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s wider catalogue.
The Line of Best Fit

Pond Scum offers a wholly cohesive, albeit not revolutionary, insight into exactly how Bonnie “Prince” Billy manages to be a vibrant (and relevant) folk musician long after all the paths the form can wander have been trodden.

Drowned in Sound

Though it has merit in the strength of its content, Pond Scum may be only one for the collectors.

American Songwriter
This is clearly for existing fans; those new to Oldham’s expansive, often confusing catalog are advised to start elsewhere.
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Track List

  1. (I Was Drunk At the) Pulpit
  2. Death To Everyone
  3. Arise, Therefore
  4. Jolly Five (64)
  5. Beezle
  6. Jolly One (2/15)
  7. When Thy Song Flows Through Me
  8. The Houseboat (O How I Enjoy the Light)
  9. Trudy Dies
  10. The Cross
  11. Stable Will
  12. The Idol On the Bar
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Added on: January 7, 2016