Bobby is not so much a band of solid members as it is a collaborative group effort of some of the more visionary and talented artists associated with the record label Partisan. The music on the group’s self-titled debut album is written for Bobby himself, who appears to be no more than a fictional character that encompasses the vision and the purpose of the songwriting, lyrically and melodically. As strange as that might sound, the concept of the album drives the music and creates a very suitable, almost trance-like indie rock album that’s both soothing and haunting.
At times, the music causes your mind to drift away from a steady focus on melody and lyrics and into a daydream of sorts—the album demands strict concentration for detail, otherwise the quality lies in the drifting experience as each song melts into the next.
The chanting of “where are you hiding?” in the opening track “We Saw” is compellingly beautiful. Right away the concept is made concrete and the album takes a turn for the ambient, ethereal effect that meanders throughout each track. “We Saw” also introduces the group’s fine attention to detail in its music, as layers are presented not only vocally, but in the structured sounds of each individual instrument. If the album is not a hook at first listen, it’s for good reason; there is almost too much detail to absorb after one spin. Bobby as a whole has a cinematic quality that helps the songwriters focus on their muse. It’s almost as if we get to know the character Bobby as well as we get to know the musicians.
Towards the end of “Sore Spores,” the second track off the album, the song melts into a translucent array of sounds and chants from the group. The inclusion of a few different vocalists, such as guitarist-vocals-leader Tom Greenberg and vocalist Molly Erin Sarle of Mountain Men, is an addition that enhances the dream-like tenderness of the songs. Bobby is sleepy and hypnotic; elements that guarantee a hauntingly enjoyable listen.