I have friends who love listening to the same album for hours on end. For the most part, I’m not in that camp. It just doesn’t strike me as fair to all of the other albums waiting to be heard. Plus, I’m fickle. What sounds good to me now, probably won’t in an hour. But there are exceptions, like Sharon Van Etten’s Because I Was In Love from a couple of years ago.
Mostly I reserve the repeat function for albums that: 1.) retain a very similar vibe from one song to the next; 2.) are really good; and 3.) fit with my mood and/or the season. All of these criteria are met when it comes A.A. Bondy’s Believers. What’s funny, is that even after fifty-plus times through Believers, I can’t name one song. In fact, after the album has been cycling through for a couple of hours, I can’t even remember which song is first.
The magic happens in the atmosphere of the music, rather than the melody or the lyrics. Which wasn’t what I was expecting from Bondy, who has two previous albums full of catchy songs with compelling lyrics. The vibe of Believers is cold, wet, and cloudy. Not the kind of crap you get stuck in riding your bike home from work or class, but the kind of crap you look at from the comfort of your warm kitchen while making some tea. It’s a very comfortable album that sneaks beneath the conscious level of listening.
In a way, Believers reminds a bit of Richard Hawley’s work but with more of an Americana flavor to it. These hints of country are brought out by Bondy’s vocals, the slide guitar parts, and plenty of reverb. There’s also a lot of distortion sprinkled throughout Believers but it never comes off as loud or bombastic and instead, adds to the texture of the album.
When Thanksgiving rolls around in a month, I hope it is grey and rainy because this is the album I want to accompany me into triptophan bliss.
“Drmz” by A.A. Bondy