Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Album Review: Bombadil - All That The Rain Promises

After a couple of tough years highlighted by Daniel Michalak’s brutal case of tendonitis, Bombadil is back with All That The Rain Promises, their follow up to the the wonderful Tarpits and Canyonlands.

Much of the album is hopeful in tone, but it wouldn’t work as well without the brilliant cold open. “I Will Wait” is a prayer of desperation and its narrator is wondering why God isn’t answering.

“Oh Emmanuel, will you guide my way? Did you see, but do you understand how far I fell?” Michalak (correction: Stuart Robinson sings on "I Will Wait") pleads. All That The Rain Promises brings the listener into its story at rock bottom so that it can show them how to climb back up.

Bombadil capture the gradual recovery expertly. Simple objects and places — a “Laundromat,” “Flour Water Sugar,” a “Leather Belt” — inspire reflection and questions about human nature.

“The snack machine is stuck between the TV and magazines that talk about our self-doubt and the things we can’t live without,” Bombadil sing on “Laundromat.”

It all builds to the beginnings of love and support in the endlessly charming “A Question” where Stuart Robinson sings, “Excuse me, I have a question that will make us awkward.”

The arrangements on this album are less adventurous than its predecessor, but they can still catch you by surprise. The transitions from ukelele to synth to electric guitar in “A Question” are subtle and really cause the song to bubble.

This new album proves Bombadil to be a dynamic band. While Tarpits and Canyonlands was a joyous journey around the world, All That The Rain Promises incorporates the band’s recent struggles to create profound and penetrating music without losing any of their quirky charm.

All That The Rain Promises is available now on Ramseur Records. Bombadil will play their CD release party with Future Kings of Nowhere and Jason Kutchma at the Cat's Cradle on November 12.

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