Trace Bundy | 'Elephant King' | CD Review
There is a lot going on in Trace Bundy's newest studio release, "Elephant King." Fans of Bundy should instantly recognize his signature style, laced with looping harmonies, percussion on the guitar body, and complex music theories and melodies that could only come from him. This is Bundy's most diverse and complex effort to date, and he accomplishes it all with finesse and a playful spirit that shines through on every track.
The album opens up with the title track, a beautiful and intricate mix of percussion and harmony, delivered with depth, precision, and some very speedy fingers. The next track, "Joy & Sorrow," features two guitars. The first guitar melody is played in the key of D-minor, which he sets on a loop. The second guitar melody is played over the loop in the key of D-Major. He switches back and forth throughout the song creating a sound that is both playful and introspective, setting the tone for the rest of the album.
There is also a wide assortment of cultural influences woven throughout the album. The track "Traverse," for example, has a fast-paced Spanish and Latin feel, while the track, "Coronation" is more mellow and folksy sounding. Perhaps the most classical and soothing sounding track is "Be Still," which features a violin and simple harmonies. An honorable mention should also go out to the track "Tres Capos," which is another classic homage to a musical technique that Bundy has mastered and continues to impress with. This is song I would love to see him perform to a live audience.
My favorite track off the album, "Adventures in Sawyerland" (named after his son), feels the most authentically acoustic and "Trace Bundy"-like. Most of the tracks on this album feel like they are taking the listener on an adventure. There is no telling where a Trace Bundy track will lead, what it will evolve into, and how it will resolve itself. That's what makes his music so memorable and captivating. His songs invite listeners to actively participate in his musical journey along with him and we end up feeling a stronger connection to the music.
Overall, the 11-track album is another success for Bundy. It has everything we have always loved about his music, and a level of complexity and growth that we all expect from an artist on his 5th studio release. This would be a great album to bring along on a plane or anywhere else you might need to feel both mentally stimulated and relaxed.