Reviewed by Kit Burns
Trace Bundy’s art is music without words; he speaks through his acoustic guitar, letting each string express his innermost emotions. But don’t expect Adapt to be an album of dry, paint-by-numbers instrumentals. There is real passion here and true artistry as well. Bundy isn’t just playing his guitar; he is illustrating pictures with it, telling stories with every pick of the string. What tales those are depends on the power of your imagination. However, Bundy’s songs are so compelling that it doesn’t take too much effort to let the images unreel in your mind.
On “Bristlecone” and “Dueling Ninjas,” Bundy gradually builds up tempo until he is jamming with the manic energy of the possessed. I’m reminded of Dave Matthews’ most spellbinding moments. “Dueling Ninjas” is rips through the speakers with its furious twanging, and the crystalline production enables you to hear every funky chord. It is, to put it simply, utterly smoking. By the title track, Bundy starts to slow it down; nevertheless, the results are equally if not more powerful. The introspective “Stone’s Serenade” is a dazzler, a spider’s web of acoustic strings and lovelorn violin. “Patanga” continues the voyage inward, brimming with moody atmospherics. You don’t need lyrics with music this gorgeous, and even words aren’t enough to describe how pretty it all is.