Bombadil: Tarpits & Canyonlands

Tom Bombadil is a creation of J.R.R. Tolkien who appears in The Fellowship of the Ring, the first chapter of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He is described as powerful and ancient creature who speaks in whimsical, nonsensical rhymes… his carefree nature serving as a counterpoint to the power he possesses.

In a way… the Durham, NC based band that shares Bombadil’s name also carries many of his characteristics.

On first listen, many of the songs on Bombadil’s new album Tarpits & Canyonlands seem to simply be exercises in lighthearted, sing-along fun. Dig a little deeper, however, and you begin to recognize the inventiveness and skill that goes into creating songs as layered, complex, and instantly infectious as the ones on this album.

I largely missed out on Bombadil’s previous album so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I pushed play on this one for the first time. The beautiful, slow building “I Am” had me immediately hooked with its simple, in the round, structure that adds layers as the song progresses until reaching a vocal crescendo and falling silent. It’s as epic as a song can be in only 1:32.

The opener is followed by the piano and hand clap driven “Sad Birthday” and the string filled “Honeymoon” …two songs that inspire you to smile and tap your toes while tackling slightly dark subject matter. Three songs into the album, and it’s already one of my favorites of the year. It doesn’t really let down from here either.

Tarpits & Canyonlands comes out July 7th from Ramseur Records and comes with a strong recommendation from me. If you like the two songs I’m featuring here (the first two on the album), then you should seriously consider checking this one out in a few weeks. According to my iTunes, I’ve already spun the whole record over a half-dozen times in just over a week (with a few songs getting many, many more plays), and I’m still finding new things to love about it.

Bombadil: I Am (Buy Album)
Bombadil: Sad Birthday (Buy Album)

One Response to “Bombadil: Tarpits & Canyonlands”

  1. Pretty sure this is my favorite release of '09 so far…

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