Review by Shannon Shumaker
It is few and far between that you find an album that combines the amount of emotion, instrumentation and storytelling as much as Where Were You? does, but PJ Bond makes it feel easy. Where Were You? begins with a high energy, summery sounding rock n’ roll track, “Everglades,” which feels light and easy, but as the album progresses, it quickly becomes apparent that the album is much more than upbeat summer songs, catchy guitar work and pretty vocals. As the album progresses, it grows and changes and begins to tell a story, one of small town longing and love that you’ll have to stick around to hear.
There is a storytelling style to the lyricism on “Everglades” that is reminiscent of country music, but the guitar work and vocal style feels more folky and americana. The perfect opening track, “Everglades” definitely prepares you for the rest of the album, carried by subtle, yet strong guitar work, catchy choruses and memorable lyricism. The following song, “Broad Street,” feels more bluesy and rock n’ roll than “Everglades,” and already, the album seems to progress into summertime blues and warm drives. The guitar tone in the beginning of the song is incredibly strong, but on top of that, the reverb on the vocals and the personal lyricism really make you feel like you’re part of the story. Making the song even stronger is the catchy chorus, which is nearly impossible not to sway along with. “Broad Street” is easily one of the happiest, most upbeat songs on the album.
“Calm in the Corner,” the following track, sounds just as the title suggests. The tone in this song is much more mellow and laid back than the first two tracks on the album, offering yet another progression in sound. Lyrically, the next track, “Seer” is one of the strongest songs on the album, and musically, it’s one of the softest. Where many of the other songs on Where Were You? seem to tell a story, “Seer” is more of a mellow love song, and the outcome is beautiful as Bond sings, “Sometimes lovin’ ain't easy…”
The pace seems to pick up again with “‘87 Broadcast,” which is another upbeat rock n’ roll song with strong guitar, vocals with a lot of reverb, and a chorus that is sure to get stuck in your head. Contrasting incredibly with “‘87 Broadcast” is the following song, “Hellfire,” which is another slow folk track. Then “The Better Option” comes along and feels like a slow summer jam, mellow and easy going with very warm guitar work. Easily one the best things about Where Were You? are the differing sounds on the album. No two songs sound the same, and no two songs tell similar stories, which makes the entire album worth listening to.
There are definitely a few stand out songs on the album, though, and another one of those is “For J,” which is a very personal, emotional song, hosting some of the strongest lyrical content on Where Were You? The opening line ties in with the question posed in the album’s title as Bond sings, “Where were you when your father died?”
It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the heartfelt stories that PJ Bond tells with Where Were You?. The album progesses like a story, starting off rock n’ roll and high energy before becoming more slow and emotional. From beginning to end, the album grows and changes, leaving you feeling as if you’ve been on a journey by the time it comes to a close with the lighthearted track, “We Were Just Kids.” Emotionally, Where Were You? has plenty of highs and lows, making each song well worth listening to.
Listen to "The Better Option" "Broad Street" or "For J"