A.A. Bondy – Believers [Album Review + Chicago Ticket Giveaway for Tonight]

by oz on November 8, 2011

Belivers, A.A. Bondy’s latest album, has been impossible for me to review. I’ll first point out that I am in love with the album, but it’s different from every album I’ve listened to this year. It has a few songs that rise above others, like “Surfer King” and “Rte. 28/Believers,” but they serve as crests on the album’s waves that ebb and flow in a dream state. It’s played for months in my car, house, headphones and one day I found myself immersed.

The album’s sound is soaked in guitar reverb and awash in the warm rasp of Bondy’s vocals. Lyrically, the album is a puzzle. You’ll find very little that makes literal sense, leaving every turn of phrase open for interpretation. Let’s have a look at “Surfer King:”

Behind the red door, in American skin
There is a murder of roses
In the midnight hiss, come cover me there
For I am electric nothing

Out on the tide, strangers all
Are drowning by
Under eclipse, I wait for your kiss
With the beating of all…
These idiot hearts

And no more evil now, no horror sound
No maniac song from tyrant
And the surfer king will show me everything
In the great, green flash of the evening

Out on the tide, strangers we ride
Smoke in our eyes
Under eclipse, I wait for your kiss
With the beating of all…
These idiot hearts

And so goes the abyss that is lyrical beauty on Believers. This is a slight departure from the Folk/Americana style on Bondy’s two previous albums, but it’s a fantastic record that breezes by in the blink of an eye, filling your room with an atmosphere of warmth and calm. But that calm may be interrupted by feelings of trepidation. It’s the feeling of walking alone on a deserted city street, lit by moon or by a dim streetlight. You may check over your shoulder from time to time. You may feel as if you’re being watched.

If Believers doesn’t agree with you immediately, give it more time. It will slowly permeate your mind.

A.A. Bondy is in Chicago at Lincoln Hall tonight and we have a pair of tickets to give away. Email freeshit@hearya.com with your full name and “Bondy Giveaway” in the subject line to nab them. We’ll pick a winner at high noon.

A.A. Bondy – The Heart Is Willing

Dig into our Live Session with A.A. Bondy, if you haven’t already.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve_Omaha November 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Believers live is equally fantastic! Enjoy the show!

Shirk November 9, 2011 at 11:44 am

Last night’s show at Lincoln Hall was fantastic! A couple moments of frustration for Scott, but he took it in stride. He even made fun of himself, joking about his behavior during his last performance in Chicago. “I’m often over-reactionary and sometimes an asshole…..but there’s not a lot we can do about that now, is there?” Lots of songs from the new record and a couple oldies. Slow Parade was absolutely ferocious. Probably the highlight of the night in my opinion. For an encore, Bondy came back out by himself and played three tunes from American Hearts:Vice Rag, I Killed Myself When I Was Young and Rapture(Sweet Rapture) A really nice close to the evening.

Oz November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

Yes, he kills Slow Parade at his shows. Very different from the album.

BB November 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I have all three AA Bondy’s albums and give them all high marks, I enjoy listening to them often. But this was the first time I’ve seen him live and was unimpressed. With the exception of Slow Parade and a few solo tunes at the end (Vice Rag, I Killed Myslef When I was Young) I thought is was amateurish. Nothing was tight and I felt like he rails on that steele guitar with no finesse. Ehh.. maybe it was just a bad night – still love the albums.

Steve November 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Fantastic album. Lots of great original sounds. Pretty sure I heard a breedlove guitar riff!

Steve_Omaha November 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Amateurish? Really? No offense but i wonder how much you were even paying attention to the show, because Bondy doesn’t even play the steele guitar. I get that you like the old songs, but the band is tight and pull off an amazing live show. He’s done with the Americana/Folk movement, enjoy the new Bondy that will continue to re-invent himself to prevent being painted into a corner or stereotype. Everyone go check out the 2011 tour, its a great continuation of the Believers album.

Woody November 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Skull & Bones is one of my favorites along with Surfer King. Overall, this is an album to get lost in. Gus continues to churn out amazing albums.

Jack January 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

I have to say I think “The Twist” is the best from Believers. Those low growls of the guitar and frightening vibes have me lit up and the track comes at the perfect time. I’m gonna review it soon too.

Also, anybody know where I can find more lyrics?

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