The re-release of Bombadil’s first full-length album, Tarpits And Canyonlands, is a variety of indie folk rock tracks, with both worldly and minimal instrumentation that delve into a variety of relatable issues and intuitions. From the opening track “I Am,” the band’s vocal versatility and harmonizing ability is a pleasant introduction, featuring each member’s voice happily chanting, “Building you a pyramid,” over and over. Sometimes sounding like Simon And Garfunkel, sometimes The Proclaimers, Bombadil are an indie folk rock group with a range of unique sounds that help encapsulate the issues they sing about.
There are songs that seem lackluster in musicality compared to others on the album, but between the brushes there are plenty of anecdotal and meaningful lyrics and a few standout tracks that must be heard. The song “Honeymoon” is an upbeat, catchy song with a prominent piano riff and a message about what lies beyond the first happy, magic-filled weeks of a marriage. In “So Many Ways To Die,” acoustic guitars begin to layer and create a beautiful wall of sound in front of a thunderous bass drum beat that accompanies the somewhat sorrowful lyrics. In the most emotive song on the album, the piano-only “Matthew” finds the singer belting out line after line in a similar fashion to Brand New’s “Failure By Design” that crescendos into a heartfelt yell at the end.
While some track shine bright and others seem dim, Bombadil’s debut album still feels fresh and enticing five years after its initial release. Whether the band incorporates Spanish rhythms and lyrics heard in “Laurita” or horns in their military dirge-sounding “25 Daniels,” the diversity in the music is an exciting response to the inquisitive lyrics. All in all it may not feel like a unified record, but Tarpits And Canyonlands has enough enticing numbers for listeners to engage.
In A Word: Multifaceted