Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"All That The Rain Promises" by Bombadil

All That The Rain Promises by Bombadil was released
November 8, 2011 on Ramseur Records
All That The Rain Promises is much more than any old comeback for the boys of Bombadil, plagued with injuries and cross-country moves, it appeared that these Carolina favorites would never truly get the recognition they deserved after they broke up in 2009 after the release of their heavily heralded release Tarpits and Canyonlands.  Daniel Michalak, singer and bassist, fought through severely debilitating hand injuries that left him unable to even play his instrument without pain, but as we found out back in September with Bombadil's big return show at Hopscotch, Bombadil has risen from the ashes anew and arguably better than ever.

Celebrating their album release on November 12 at The Cat's Cradle with local favorites Future Kings of Nowhere and Jason Kutchma, Bombadil is set to fill the hole left in the Triangle music scene when they left it two years ago.  A new found simplicity can be found in All That The Rain Promises, but their stripped down instrumentation and back-to-basics songwriting has shined a new light on the band.  Filled with eloquence and beauty, Bombadil's latest effort is the album that their forlorn fans had all hoped for.

Opening up with the somber and bare-bones track, "I Will Wait", Stuart Robinson and his piano send chills down the spine with the ever-familiar theme of questioned faith spoken with unfiltered innocence.  "Oh Emmanuel will you guide my way?/ Did you see but do you understand how far I fell?", it's a stark opening for the album but it clutches at the listeners heart as the sincerity practically oozes from Robinson's words.  From a somber beginning the album wastes no time in picking up steam with standout tracks like "The Pony Express" and "Laundromat", two songs with infectious melodies and catchy choruses.  "Laundromat" takes a simple and somewhat trivial location and bursts life into it with all of the not so trivial thoughts that often plague our minds throughout the day.  "And the next time I'm at the laundromat I'm gonna call my dad/ And the next time I call my dad I will apologize", it's finding the intrinsic thoughts within us all that seem to come out at such random times that we come to affiliate these thoughts with objects or places that have little to no correlation to these thoughts.  You won't ordinarily find yourself singing along to songs about doing laundry, but Bombadil have a way of taking these simple and menial things and meticulously crafting them into something meaningful and heart felt.

While the lush arrangements full of texture and depth may be gone from this new Bombadil record, that doesn't mean there is any lack of substance or drop in quality of their songs.  As a matter of fact some of the brightest moments on the record come from the band showing restraint and allowing these songs to take form around their relatable lyrics.  Tracks such as "One Whole Year" can encompass much of Bombadil's story of finding their footing after recovery with lines like, "Now they're sawing off my casts and I'm trying to recall/ How to walk and how to dance and how it feels when I fall".  It's clear that the lyrics have deep personal meaning but they tow the line of universality that allows all of the listeners to truly connect with the songs.

Arguably the most relatable song comes once again from Stuart shining bright on his own, this time a ukulele accompanied anthem of unrequited teenage love with "A Question".  "Excuse me, I have a question that will make us awkward.  So if you would like an awkward situation just say 'What is it Stuart?', okay here it goes", a situation everyone's found themselves in once, maybe twice, (maybe countless times if you're one of those lovable socially awkward characters like myself!) but one that never gets any easier.  The lyrics are arguably the most simple found on the album, but the shouted line of "What do I say now?" can induce chills every time, it captures the exact feelings found in situations as this, much like the rest of Bombadil's spot on lyrics.

This album certainly proves that the band has found their footing once more though, as it's a stunning compilation of tracks that are brilliantly woven together with unified themes and seamless transitions.  With a heavy focus on lyricism, the brightest moments on this album come from those lyrics that truly strike a chord with the listeners, and the joy of this album is that you can find something like that in nearly every track.  Different listeners will relate more with certain songs and lyrics, but after listening to this album extensively over the past month or so it's been damn near impossible to pick a favorite track because of the sheer brevity of it all.  Bombadil have returned with more than a bang, they've blasted away the competition.  Don't be surprised when this starts popping up all over top album lists this year because its a truly incredible album.

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