Bombadil: Metrics of Affection

bombadil-metrics-of-affectionMuch of the narrative about Bombadil lately has focused on the band’s return after a forced hiatus due to nerve damage in bassist Daniel Michalak’s hands.  While that is part of the band’s story, if one focuses on that they miss the truly important narrative of Bombadil.  Since they first burst into the musical universe out of Duke University (via a semester abroad in Bolivia) they have continually released great, quirky albums that have flown under the radar, yet can stand shoulder to shoulder with the year’s best albums.  Their latest release, Metrics of Affection, continues that trend.

Metrics of Affection is an addictive spin on folksy-Americana, Piedmont blues, and rocking gypsy rag-time.  It is built upon simple guitar lines, subtle hints of banjo, classically-themed piano melodies, and drum patterns that emit power in their simplicity.  Starting with the album’s opening track, “Angeline,” in which the band sounds like it is harmonizing with the ghost of Kate Bush, Bombadil crafts an album that sings of deep thoughts on life and love and relationships.  Each song is wrapped up snugly with simple word-play that hides the true meaning and requires the listener to peel back each layer of the song to reveal the elusive soul of each tune.  Or maybe as they sing, in what could be the album’s standout track, “Escalators,” “we’re just out of toilet paper again” and that is all they mean and there is no broader, profound truth to be found in the lyrics. Either way that is the beauty and genius of Bombadil’s music, their ability to create such complex musical beauty out of such a simple sound.