A A (Scott) Bondy‘s eagerly awaited new album, When the Devil’s Loose, will finally be available next week, September 1st, on Fat Possum. Bondy’s lovely, road-weary voice conveys depth of experience and soul knowledge. Pleasantly hoarse at times while incorporating jangly piano sounds and lo-fi leanings on the title track, Bondy engenders warmth and accessibility. Rather than promoting an image of unattainable perfection, Bondy welcomes listeners with his humility and relatively stripped-down pieces, offering up an intimate opportunity to merge with his songs and relate to Bondy as a real person.
The record steps out of the gate on musical legs strong and clear, steeped in pure beauty. Mightiest of Guns leads in with sensitively blurred effects like a cool river. At the close of this first song, you’ll find yourself still standing knee-deep in the river, ready and willing for the baptism that will surely follow. To the Morning, dug with profound bass notes for accentuation, reminds me of a Hendrix tune gone slow in waltz style. Oh The Vampyre, one of my favorite Bondy songs, is a catchy ballad with a great chorus, rife with compelling imagery and enjoyable yet unfluffy lightness. On the Moon comes off as a sweet little simple ditty, then surprises with over a minute of revelatory space sounds.
The ten mellow-luscious tracks on When the Devil’s Loose fit together seamlessly for the most part, generally rolling into each other like the lull of gentle waves, each giving way to the next. The transition from total still at the terminus of Vampyre to the upbeat, celebratory I Can See The Pines Are Dancing is the clunky exception, but it had to be done. The only other jolt comes in the form of a snap back to consciousness just before the final song.
Two Felice brothers contributed to the title track as well as to the end track, The Coal Hits the Fire. Also on those New York recordings was Nick Kinsey on drums, Josh Christmas on bass and Greg Farley on violin. Bondy recorded eight of the ten tracks in Water Valley, Mississippi with Bruce Watson engineering, Macey Taylor on bass and Paul Buchignani on drums. These eight songs carry a laid back, watery vibe. Inundation, really. In fact, The Mercy Wheel’s refrain, “It’s a Mississippi night,” speaks of easy-going freedom while oozing the thickness of deep south environs. It’s easy to get stuck in the humid, repetitive rhythm, which makes the abruptly cut ending ever so jarring. But I suppose it was a necessary move in order to jerk entranced listeners out of the cricket-laden thicket and drop us into the final track, The Coal Hits the Fire, which begins with a sound like raindrops landing on a tin roof back up in New York – a crisply present song that suitably feels like the end of a satisfying journey and a well-appreciated homecoming.
Previous AA Bondy HERE.