Friday, November 11, 2011

Album Review: "All That The Rain Promises" by Bombadil

All That the Rain Promises by Bombadil was released on
November 8, 2011 by Ramseur Records
If you've been with Myxem for a while, you may remember our coverage of the third day of the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC. We talked at length about Bombadil, a Durham-based band that we caught a glimpse of between sets from the Flaming Lips and Lost in the Trees. It takes a very special performance to stand out between two musical powerhouses such as those, but when the dust cleared and the copious glitter from the Flaming Lips show finally washed out of my hair, the memory of Bombadil's set at Fletcher Opera Hall still burned clearly in my mind. They completely took me by surprise with a display of sheer, raw talent that had me listening to their back-catalog (specifically 2009's epic Tarpits and Canyonlands) and nothing else for about a solid month.

Now, a full two months later, Bombadil has released their third album, All That the Rain Promises. I've been excited about this one for quite some time and can say with complete honesty that I am nowhere near disappointed. All of the key elements that drew me to Bombadil in the first place are present in full force; the album opens with "I Will Wait", an emotional dirge reminiscent of traditional Southern hymnals, before going into the elegant guitar work and slow build that comprise "The Pony Express." From there, we are treated to another admirable collection of tunes steeped in the band's quirky sort of charm, with the composition of each one managing to outshine its predecessor at first listen. Lyrically, the band doesn't stray too far from the eloquent pseudo-folk storytelling we've come to expect from them (with the notable exception of "A Question" which reads like a playground love-note), and I quite frankly have no problem with that. There are certainly attempts to get more ambitious vocally, such as the penultimate ballad "Short Side of the Wall", but for the most part Bombadil stick to what they know, and they seem it know it damn well.

After a brief hiatus brought on by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Michalak's health issues, Bombadil has come roaring back into the North Carolina music scene, and with All That the Rain Promises, they have shown that they are anything but rusty. The album is a complete and seemingly effortless return to form that is impossible not to enjoy. I cannot recommend it highly enough and will be waiting patiently to hear what this incredibly talented group comes out with next.

Rating: 9.4/10
Standout Tracks: "The Pony Express", "One Whole Year", "Laundromat"

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