Monday, February 7, 2011

When the Devil's Loose by A.A. Bondy

Not breaking news, really. But a really great album that ought to be heard.

I can't exactly remember when I first heard of A.A. Bondy. It might've been on Friday Night Lights or possibly through a friend via Facebook, but in either case I do remember be utterly mesmerized by his sound. The strange thing about this hold he has on the listener (in this case, me) and the way he's able to captivate, is that he doesn't possess any of the tools that would immediately wow you. He has a nice voice, but it certainly doesn't over power. His songs are simple and straight forward -- he's not producing anything approaching a Sufjan Stevenseque opus, and yet, I'm hard pressed to think of an artist I've come across in the past year that I've been affected more by.

On his 2009 release When the Devil's Loose Bondy sings like a man who is tired. While there's nothing that particularly stands out about Bondy's music, he emotes, and his fatigue is so tangible that it's hard not to slow down with him. Given Bondy's background, the world weary and fatigued sound seems entirely appropriate. According to wikipedia, from 1994 - 2003 "Scott" Bondy was the lead singer of a grunge rock band called Verbena housed on Capitol Records. After viewing a couple of their music videos on youtube, namely, "My Baby Got Shot", I was exhausted.

For many song-writers this might drive them to begin to write some horribly self-absorbed and self-pitying type work, but this is something that When the Devil's Loose is very clear to avoid. The songs are slow and wistful, but the stories seem to serve as more of a cautionary tale rather than a source of out and out regret, though it certainly possible that what sounds like regret to me is actually just a southern, Mississippi Delta sort of thing.

1 comment:

Jesse said...

I only listened to "Slow Parade" (liked it enough to try to score the album), but was surprised that you didn't mention it/he sounds almost exactly like Ryan Adams on "Come Pick Me Up".