A.A. Bondy – Enderness review

Secret Meeting score: 78

by Philip Moss

On his first LP in eight years, Auguste Arthur Bondy returns with a record that’s filled with pessimism, and where he’s responsible for every note of the apocalyptic bedroom pop you hear.

From the opening chimes of Diamond Skull, Enderness unfurls at its own pace. Its satirical, train of thought lyrics – ‘Ooh la la, Swastika / Say Old Glory / O.M.G / Sea to sea / L.M.F.A.O.’ – display distain for the modern world. But ironically, Bondy has put his acoustic guitar to one side and embraced technology – backed by synths and lazy drum machines. Vocally it’s different too – falling somewhere close to the inert delivery of Connan Mockasin, before it slips away through a jarringly awkward fade.

Killers 3 shows no sign of rushing either. The sense of doom continues too, recalling John Maus’ Screen Memories: ‘Murder is more entertaining than peace,’ he observes exasperatedly. In The Wonder and the edgy groove of Images of Love are the most immediate moments, but they’re split by the dystopian horror movie-alike instrumental, The Tree With the Lights. Perhaps the most wryly haunting though is Fentanyl Freddy, which depicts a drug addict willing to go to any length to serve his fix – ‘See me at the pawn shop with my neighbour’s lawnmower’. After opening with distorted falsettos, it drudges – underpinned by isolated drums, synth pads and looping pianos.

If there was to be one criticism of Enderness, it would be that the melodies can – at times – get lost in its perpetual slow pace. But, if you stick with it, it is a record that will work its way under your skin. And in the same way that it feels like it was a labour of love to make, it is worth the effort.

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