Thursday, May 30, 2019

Album Review: A.A. Bondy - Enderness

A.A. Bondy
** out of *****

Back in the day, there was Scott Bondy the lead singer of Verbena. Then came a reborn folk singer with the name A.A. Bondy who delivered excellent acoustic based folk/blues with 2008's American Hearts and 2009's When The Devil's Loose. Now comes the third iteration as Bondy has mixed ambient lounge music, synths, drum machines and modern day digital flows into his sound, even moving from blues lyrics towards stream of consciousness singing. 

The whole album feels as if he could be the opening act for Lera Lynn in The Black Rose during True Detective Season 2. It is odd, dream-like and in the end underwhelming.

Bondy's voice still manages to deliver a sense of longing, but lyrically things are jumbled with the opening "Diamond Skull" setting the tone. He sings about cocaine spelled out in his name, then sings, "OMG, LMAFO" in the same tone, nothing rises above or seems to mean much of anything.

"In The Wonder" has a synth blurring along as the mid flow of the album (including "In the Tree With Lights" and "Images of Love") blend together, drifting along in layered synthetically produced fashion which fits these modern times, hollow and otherworldly but also not affecting. "I'll Never Know" works better as it pushes the drum beats up and flows like restrained R&B while "Killers 3" purrs and injects a doo-wop sound into this modern style with successful results.

Too often though there just isn't much meat on the bone. Instrumentals "Pan Tran" and the album closing title track may connect with ambient fans but just pass by without adding much to the overall sound other than padding it's run time. The warped piano ballad dealing with death and drug addiction "Fetanyl Freddy" sets an icy tone but doesn't connect dots where "#Lost Hills" goes back to wandering and wanting to return to California.   

Even during his mid career Woody Guthrie inspired days Bondy never fully shook his James Dean sense of hypnotic cool. Pushing that into these modern times isn't as smooth as it could/should be, but having followed Bondy's career it is obvious that there is no telling what comes after Enderness
We loved Bondy's mid career shift, seeing him whenever we could, so perhaps that's why this album disappoints, but truthfully if this was an another artists name on the album it wouldn't make much of a difference as Enderness is one note and not a note we truly care for.

That said, support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:

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