Bombadil is a quartet from North Carolina whom, by looks of their MySpace page, has an affinity for suspenders and Stetson dress hats. Their look reminds me of a High School thespian society more than a band, but hey, I've seen too many bands whipping out tubas and trumpets as of late that it's sort of refreshing that these guys are comfortable enough letting the world know that they used to be in high school band. I'm sorry, but if you play tuba as of 25-year-old hipster, chances are high that you learned it in high school and that you were a geek. It's a scientific fact.
From the sound of their first song, "Jellybean Wine," on the cleverly titled Bombadil EP, it's very apparent that these four guys heard The Kinks' Village Green and went apeshit. "Jellybean Wine" is filled with Ray Davies' quirky Village Green-era lyrics, melodies, and arrangements. But the band doesn't deny their love for The Kinks. The claim they sound like "M. Ward and The Kinks" right on their MySpace page.
After the five-second chain-gang melody of "Sinister Side," the song erupts into a piano roll that sort of reminds me of Ben Folds. Maybe I'm an idiot and every time I hear a piano in rock music, I think of Ben Folds or Randy Newman, but this actually sounds like Ben Folds until the vocals come in. "I've got a straw hat," lead singer Stuart explains, "I took it from a tourist, stole it right off his head, because I'm a purist." Wow. This song is dominated by another influence that Bombadil doesn't deny, The Band. There's Dixieland piano and a chorus vocal break that's obviously stolen straight from The Band's "The Weight." Again, the band doesn't try to cover this influence up. They claim they also sound like "Flaming Lips and The Band."
The next three songs range from Phish to The Kinks back to Phish. I can pretend that I don't know what Phish sounds like, but hey, I do. I went to high school and went to college and it's impossible to dodge all that stuff. And hey, it's not ALL that bad. It's those playful arrangements, bad narrative lyrics, and untrained vocals that make Phish annoying to listen to. Unfortunately, Bombadil rips all three of these things from Mr. Anastasio.
Bombadil is one of those bands that you listen to and just KNOW that they don't give a shit about much more than playing music together. They're having fun, dressing goofy, and probably smoking some pot during rehearsal. Overall, this band is worth keeping on your radar, as this self-released, self-recorded EP has its moments.