Bombadil’s quirky 2013 release Metrics of Affection defies expectations from the start — sounding more like British Invasion pop from the ’60s than contemporary indie rock from North Carolina. Album tracks “Angeline” and “Learning to Let Go” recall the Ray and Dave Davies songwriting partnership of The Kinks.
“We do sound very Brit-pop,” bassist Daniel Michalak says. “When we started we wanted to sound like Neil Young. Now we want to sound like Jay-Z and The Offspring,” he jokes.
Before long, Southern music surfaces in the rootsy, banjo-inflected song “Born at 5:00,” and “Isn’t It Funny” features an Irish folk-tinged three-part harmony before taking a sharp left turn into rap.
Elsewhere, melancholy piano tunes “Have Me” and “Patience is Expensive” bring to mind the nerdy charm of fellow North Carolinian pianist Ben Folds, and Michael Stipe of REM — a big hero of the band — provides a trumpet line to the song “Escalators.”
“Wes Anderson, sadness, madness, joy,” says Michalak, describing Bombadil’s sound. In upcoming shows, he says that Bombadil fans can look forward to red shoes, matching gray suits and some new jokes. “Stuart [Robinson] has been practicing jumping,” Michalak says of the band’s pianist.
Bombadil hasn’t played locally since 2008, but Michalak recalls his time in Eugene fondly. “I remember climbing some mountain and eating blackberries,” he jokes. “I also ran a few laps and imagined I was Steve Prefontaine.”
Bombadil plays 8:30 pm Thursday, April 24, at Axe & Fiddle, Cottage Grove; $3. They perform in Eugene with Lone Madrone 9 pm Wednesday, April 30, at Sam Bond’s; $5.