By Jesse Keith
The Von Bondies have all the trapings of hipster rock superstars. They have the good looks, mastered the completely-bored-with-life pose, had a fistfight with Jack White, and, above all else, are a seriously tight rock band.
The Bondies follow bands like The Strokes, The Hives and The White Stripes in the alt-rock revival of the American blues and rock traditions, but manage to set themselves apart from their contemporaries. Fusing ’70s rock with blues and post-punk, the Von Bondies’ third album Pawn Shoppe Heart offers up Kink’s style guitar rock and resurrects the Jimmy Page guitar solo, all while managing to sound fairly modern.
To say the Von Bondies are a tight band would be an understatement. While still showy, Pawn Shoppe Heart is an incredibly well controlled and produced album.
Guitarist/vocalist Jason Stollsteimer and drummer Don Blum complement each other well, but the band is at its best when using the call and response between the boy and girl members of the band. It’s the key to Pawn Shoppe Heart’s melody, separating the Von Bondies from similar bands.
Unfortunately the Von Bondies are a little too together, a little too slick. The album lacks heart and emotion. There isn’t a whole lot of substance beneath the immaculate sheen of their decadent post-punk sound. The Von Bondies go to considerable effort to sound as if they just don’t give a shit, but in the end they sound it too.