Born out of the woodwork of a remote house in western Massachusetts, BOBBY is a grab bag of college friends and label mates from Partisan and Knitting Factory Records. Their varied background creates a complex, hushed sound, perhaps attributed to the band’s namesake “member,” described as a wandering founder of the band who isn’t actually real. (Until very recently, no press photos of BOBBY’s actual members existed). Whoever this character is, BOBBY’s presence is quite apparent throughout the self-titled debut, monitoring a morphing album of folky dream pop laced with peculiar rhythms.
Opener “We Saw” serves as a subdued, dreamy primer that prepares the listener for the dive into BOBBY’s world of kaleidoscope synth folk. (I’ll warn you upfront that it’s easy to drift into the album– heavy eyelids should take special caution). “Sore Spore” quickly offsets the lukewarm overture; the track’s wobbly rhythms and swapping male-female vocals grow endearingly quirky. From this point, the remaining tracks melt into each other, working their way from one pocket of sound to another. The fluttering mirage of “It’s Dead Outside” is trailed by the woodsy “Loading Phase”, followed by a trembling, synthy glow on “Ginger (Water Birth)”. The assorted sounds, loops, and meters enable each track to unfurl in a unique style hard to pin down even on multiple listens. Each element seamlessly rises and falls, somehow making sense among the wide array of knobs, keys, loops, and strings. “Dustbeam” sounds just like the image its title indicates, gracefully melding into “the Shed,” closing the album with shadowy chants.
BOBBY is neither an album to skip around on nor one to sit and analyze every turn. The album unfolds naturally, bouncing around in the background and eventually engulfing the listener. Its delicate balance between calm and eerie provides a nice escape from the drums, guitar, and bass formula, assuring that BOBBY’s atypical sound will reserve a place for the group among their peers at the synth-folk table for some time to come.