A.A. Bondy, Believers

Peter Blackstock

By Peter Blackstock

on 09.13.11 in Reviews


A.A. Bondy

Now three records into a solo career after the demise of his rock band Verbena, A.A. Bondy is pushing toward an identity that’s increasingly less beholden to the singer-songwriter tag. While Believers still has more wide open spaces than most of his Verbena catalogue, there’s a careful consideration to the arrangements. Picking up where 2009′s When the Devil’s Loose left off, Bondy develops a rich sonic undercurrent that ties everything together; the production is warm and intimate, even as hints of distortion push the songs beyond the limits of simple folk-rock. Echoing electric guitars blend and swirl with organ and pedal steel, driving the songs’ moods and emotions toward harrowing canyons of desolation. Tracks such as “The Heart Is Willing” and “Skull & Bones” have an understated rhythmic urgency, but the album unfolds with increasing deliberation, everything flowing toward an ambitious closing suite: “Rte. 28/Believers” shifts down a gear midway through its seven minutes, then blends directly into the finale, “Scenes from a Circus,” leaving behind a shimmering trail of dark, dramatic wonder.