Album Review: Heather Bond – So Close
Heather Bond has a voice that is as smooth as velvet and as sharp as a sword. Sometimes she scoops and swoons through her notes in a way that feels like a morning songbird more than a powerful pop songstress. But don’t let her voice fool you; Bond is an engaging, moving, and dynamic singer songwriter.
The opener “Not Enough” has such a solid beat it comes across like a march in some parts. It hardly seems like the same artist when she shifts to a Sara Bareilles style lead melody on “Secrets,” the second track of the album. “I’m not trying to deceive you…” gives a lyrical basis to a song about the complicated navigation of a relationship. It’s about that puzzle of getting to know each other and trying to figure out just who someone really is.
The definitive single from Bond is “Some Other Lover,” a tragic and multifaceted track about the depth of pain that comes from a broken relationship. It’s “the single” for this album because of the powerful message that it packs. It’s full of accusations and scathing commentary, much like a song from someone like Beyonce. It’s got a pop sensibility and really conveys a pop song idea nicely.
I really enjoy “So Long,” a stripped down and simpler song. In fact, its DNA is probably a country or blues song. It’s performed with Bond’s characteristic songbird vocals layered over a gently-delivered rhythm section. The lyrics are about a complicated relationship situation; it seems that a guy left her for another woman. But that’s what makes it such a great blues tune; she wants him back and isn’t sure how to make that happen. We’ve all been there girl. Sing your heart out.
“Can’t Undo This” has a softer side to it. The harmonies are one of the highlights on the album. But the softer feeling of the song really lends itself to Bond’s vocal quality. After hearing the subtleties of “Can’t Undo This,” I was excited for the duet on “Without You” featuring Gabe Dixon. “I am alone thinking of you…” is the core sentiment of the song. It’s about distance and love. Dixon’s voice, then, sounds a bit like Rusty Clanton with a gentle tenor that harmonizes beautifully with Bond. Honestly, I’d love to hear them develop a duo album of these types of songs. Dixon brings out the best in Bond musically.
“Till the End” is another sweet melody. It’s one big promise – a vow, really – of love. “I’m gonna love you till the end.” It would make for a great wedding song. It’s one of the best songs on the album in terms of highlighting Bond’s pure vocals and songwriting. In some ways I think it’s the perfect way to end the album, but I also could imagine it as the opener. It packs a real punch in emotional content and Bond’s quality performance.
All told this is an enjoyable album. Bond has a real gift for conjuring melodies and evoking emotion for the listener. The piano parts throughout do great work in moving the listener, but it’s really Bond’s vocals that win the day for me. This album is sure to be a hit for fans of artists like Sara Bareilles or even the more subtle work from folks like Beyonce or Kelly Clarkson.