Everyone remembers the pre-9/11 world, right? No terror levels, lax airport security, a different NYC skyline. Oh yeah, and back then Jason Stollsteimer and Jack White were still buddies.
Yup it’s true; Jack White produced the Von Bondies’ debut Lack of Communication (the album of the week, in terms of my wacky New Years Resolution.) Like many people, I jumped on the Von Bondies bandwagon after hearing the infectious “C’mon, C’mon” from their second studio album. But unlike many of those bandwagon jumpers, I dove into the entire Von Bondies catalogue (of course, if I had actually “dove in”, this album wouldn’t have been on my Resolution list).
It’s a surprisingly strong debut. The aforementioned Stollsteimer’s got an impassioned, angst-filled delivery. He sounds like he’s singing lyrics as they’re being tattooed on his spine. He’s like a Ghostface Killah for the garage set.
Sonically the album’s like garage rock with blues phrasing. “Nite Train” is easily the catchiest of the songs on the album, which is odd since it’s a tale of wasted life. “Cass & Henry” rides a blues groove and features an extended spoken word tale of love gone wrong.
The gem of a hidden track is “Bring it on Home to Me”, a Sam Cooke cover featuring guitarist Marcie Bolen on lead vocals.
All in all, it’s really a great album. It’s full of music that sounds like it’s been make for the sake of art and enjoyment rather than the pursuit of money. It’s raw and from the heart. There’s purity on this album that seems to be a rare quality in this day and age. Maybe that’s another thing lacking in the post-9/11 world.