Perhaps it was simply that I first listened to American Hearts on a wonderfully gray, wonderfully Midwestern fall afternoon but it seems that A.A. Bondy’s first solo record is the perfect musical companion for an introspective autumn. Musically, Bondy traffics in the same type of sepia-toned folk rock that has built the critical esteem of several of his contemporaries (songs like “Black Rain, Black Rain” and the title track are close musical cousins to Heartbreaker-era Ryan Adams) while lyrically, the colors in Bondy’s world are grayer, tackling the tensions and uneasy choices inherent in matters of war, politics and religion. “Rapture (Sweet Rapture)” proves Bondy’s aim can prove just as true on more upbeat, unshackled tracks while “Lover’s Waltz” identifies his sentimental side. Sparse yet effective, powerful and poignant, American Hearts is a true singer-songwriter’s record and is an apt barometer of Bondy’s talent.
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