Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bombadil - A Buzz, A Buzz

About six weeks ago, North Carolina pop band Bombadil released a fresh record – presumably to justify their time spent living together, from what I've been told, and to justify the American tour they've recently started, which is set to continue through the summer and finish up in Oregon this September. They've also got a new drummer, James Phillips – a UNC grad to balance out the remaining three Duke alums – to replace John Michalak, who played on A Buzz, A Buzz. This summer tour should bring many an opportunity to see how he fares.

Surprisingly, my favorite songs on this record are the ballads which remind me of Langhorne Slim, which, although a comparison, is actually a huge compliment – how many can truly and coincidentally write in the style of Langhorne? Besides, keyboardist Stuart Robinson has called Langhorne's drummer, Malachi DeLorenzo, a favorite, so I can't imagine this is too offensive a comparison. “Smile When You Kiss” and “One Two Three” offer sweet melodies, the former a soft skipping tune, the latter a kind visualization of small-town beauty, perfect for lazing about. “Three Saddest Words” is a love song of the same style, though with piano and drums bringing the pacing down to a dreary 2/2 mope.

In “Cavaliers Har Hum,” there's a faux-Scottish accent on the tongue of Daniel Michalak, which carries nicely a set of lyrics written like centuries-old poetry (“We shall vanquish our foes with the justice of the brave...O'er the river we must cross to the enemy side”). Hard to pull off, actually quite successful in execution, and balanced by a bit of call-and-response from the remaining group. Closing track “Get to Getting' On” is a brokenhearted country ballad that politely suggests said heartbreaker get the hell out of town. And “Rosetta Stone” has the biggest shot at getting Bombadil known among the indie circuit, I think.

If any hold a lesser appeal, “Julian of Norwich” lyrically has a nice story to it, but musically has a childlike march not unlike “Good King Wenceslas” that could certainly get a bit grating after one too many listens, while the title track sort of forgettably drifts by. On the whole, A Buzz, A Buzz isn't groundbreaking but is a rather nice effort from some young lads who're helping North Carolina re-establish its music scene.

Bombadil - One Two Three
Bombadil - Cavaliers Har Hum
Purchase A Buzz, A Buzz
Check their MySpace page for tour dates (in Los Angeles at Hotel Cafe on 8.12.08)

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