Lee’s Listening Stack – A.A. Bondy – ‘Believers’
Having made a drastic detour from his original outfit, the punk/grunge band Verbena, Scott A.K.A. A.A. Bondy has carved himself a comfortable niche as a folk-influenced bard. He’s not the first to take that tack; Peter Case, Ryan Adams and Eddie Vedder have all veered off their original tangents and created a soothing sound decidedly at odds with the rampaging bluster they forwarded early on. But since Bondy’s previous work is not all that well known, in his case there’s little chance that he’ll be judged against any earlier template.
As a result, those who have come lately to Bondy’s body of work will celebrate his efforts without any preconceived notions, and while calling him a full-fledged folkie runs the danger of overstating his intent, there is a certain humility and sobriety to his work. With Believers, the third album of a sublime trilogy etched over the past four years, Bondy opts for atmospheric arrangements and contemplative ruminations that often bring to mind Leonard Cohen or mid-period Joni Mitchell in their hushed reverence. Though it starts on a strikingly fearsome note with the tenuous opening track “The Heart Is Willing,” it’s thankfully all hazy ambiance from that point on. “Down in the Fire (Lost Sea)” recalls the evocative aura of Jesse Winchester’s beautiful “Biloxi,” while the cosmic embers of the instrumental “123 Dupuy Street” bring to mind some faraway dreamland. “DRMZ” and “RTE.28/Believers” are equally evocative and breathlessly haunting at that. So if the lazy, lilting melodies often elude a ready grasp, it’s the overall mood that lingers long after. True to its title, Believers does indeed have the potential to make faithful advocates of all. – Lee Zimmerman
Lee Zimmerman is a contributor to a variety of publications, including Blurt, M Music & Musicians, New Times, Goldmine and Amplifier
This review appears courtesy of Amplifier, 50,000 Watts of Non-Stop Indie Rock http://amplifiermagazine.blogspot.com/