I could tell right away when I was listening to In Transit by The Bonds that he probably was inspired by Elliott Smith by the way the vocals were produced and his delivery. Lo and behold I was right. There is nothing wrong with being inspired and influenced by your musicians as long as you can twist it into something you can call your own.
The Bonds is the moniker for Ben Finn. He recorded his ten songs in various homes and locations in Reading, MA and Amherst, MA and it’s pretty obvious because of the tonal differences. The production ranges from passable to this still needs a lot of work. I’m was definitely rooting for Finn since I also admire his influences but he is still a long way from being the caliber of any of those artists. That being said I’d say a good majority people are pretty far off from sounding like Elliott Smith and Justin Vernon.
Finn sounds unapologetically young on this album. He tries to layer his vocals on occasion and sometimes sounds good and other times it is out of sync and noticeably double tracked. The songs are hit and miss throughout. The first song “Into The House” is a hit. Finn sounds especially good here. It’s clearly one of his best vocal performances but also thought the music was inventive and showcased some creative skill.
Unfortunately, Finn’s production boiling point can’t handle much more than a couple of guitars. ”Freight Moves Fast” has a hard time getting past the thin mix in which his buried vocals are in desperate need of some low-end frequencies and compression. The song itself isn’t too shabby and thought the vocal harmonies were a nice touch.
I think Finn knew his production limits as he keeps it simple for a majority of the remaining songs. As the album progresses some songs show pockets of potential such as “In Transit” and “Overtime”.
Finn still needs a lot of tweaking in terms of delivery and production but occasionally shows potential. According to his bandcamp page he was born in 1994. I was already recording bands by that point in my life and am still a work in progress. The point is Finn probably just reached the legal drinking age and has plenty of time to refine his craft.
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