Endorsement for 'Enderness,' the latest album from A.A. Bondy
I heard that flattery is unbecoming, but I don’t really care. This kind of talent seems rare. If you’ve spent very much time with me, I’ve probably at least mentioned A.A. Bondy if not forced a listen. I’ve actively waited eight years for his latest record to be released, occasionally checking his sparse Tumblr page for a sign or pestering him with random emails like the voracious fan I am. At last, Enderness is out.
The album art is a single-lined headless figure on digital white. The music was recorded and performed by Bondy single-handedly. It should be no wonder that Enderness is “listening-alone” music, especially for those already familiar with his work. It’s the kind of music that soothes the overwhelming anxiety that accompanies the ecological crisis and the sense of powerlessness therein. The drums occasionally echo like deadened club music heard from the street, like the lingering urge to dance the morning after a night of uppers.
Bondy seems to embrace the ocean and its rise, symbolically in his music as well as literally—I hear he’s just been surfing in Malibu since his last release. It’s as if he’s chosen to take the ocean’s side in the matter. From his board, he must have a beautiful view of a precarious California. Apparently Bondy’s house burned in a wildfire the day after finishing Enderness, as if he struck some kind of deal or had been granted a limited grace by the natural world. I wouldn’t be surprised if he watched the fire consume his house from a surfboard in the ocean.
Bondy’s music feels honest. It’s timely. Subtle, sometimes-hard-to-hear phrases make you cock your head and wonder what he’s really getting at as his sentences unfold slowly. It’s an album full of something to discover and to reimagine over the course of multiple listens. He’s a masterful songwriter. His melodies and images are elegant vessels for tragedy. Simplicity is his bread and butter—it’s as if his lyrics were lines as tenuous as a spider’s web and loose as a string between unoccupied tin can phones. Pick up your end, pull the string tight, and give Enderness a listen.