A heartwarming and bustling ode to breaking apart and starting over, Bound to Break is a collection of folk-pop songs by The Communal Well that is sweet, tender, at times bitter and at times uplifting, but all in all real, tangible, and relatable.

More of a collective than a band, The Communal Well are based in Paris and have found each other in Parisian cafes. Spearheaded by Roger Hoeberichts on guitars and vocals, The Communal Well have a sound that’s roomy and crunchy. Organic guitars that sound right in your face like ‘Sentimental Fool’, or warm roominess like the delightful ‘Wasted Again’, the music on Bound to Break varies, but within boundaries that make the listen a cohesive and easy-to-follow one.

The blues also find their way quite easily to the songs on the album. Songs like ‘Smokestack Lightning’, originally by Howlin Wolf, with its vocal riff and distorted harmonica on top a rock-solid groove showcase the group’s tasteful affinity to the blues as well as showcase the amazing range of Hoeberichts as a singer. Stooping way down in his register right before doing gentle belts or speaking in a brooding manner, the song is a vocal rollercoaster that lives right in the middle of the album and maintains itself as one of the album’s most engaging and special tunes.

The aforementioned ‘Sentimental Fool’ is another stunner that brushes way too close to the blues. This time showcasing Hoeberichts’s ability to belt, the song is a fiery take on the blues that’s energetic and infectiously upbeat, and with an electrifying solo that’s fuzzed to oblivion, it too proves itself as one of the album’s more stand-out moments. ‘Hard Times’, ‘Alisa’, and ‘Roses’ are The Communal Well at their most communal. Warm songs with genial shuffles, amicable vocals and words, and familiar, cozy chord sequences, songs that display The Communal Well’s ability to pen down gentle and affectionate songs that are easy on the ears, and the interplay of the banjo by Pierre Bastide, organs, and harmonica on ‘Roses’ is just spectacular.

The penultimate ‘Walking Blues’, originally written by Robert Johnson, just proved to me that Bound to Break is an undercover blues album. More infectious, upbeat blues in major are to be found on ‘Walking Blues’. This time brooding, cheeky, and more classical than anywhere else on the album. With progressions that would call the 70s home, fiery harp soloing, straight grooves, and piano shuffles, it is one of the album’s most bustling and exciting listens. The group then ends on another killer. ‘Stones In My Passway’, originally also by Robert Johnson, is just plain simple of the album’s best executions. A hazy and addictive riff blazing underneath Hoeberichts’s animated and deliciously rigid vocals, stiff bass, and drum groove, all create an intoxicating atmosphere.

Bound to Break is an amazing listen. Fresh production makes the sound warm and bright, and tight, organic performances make each song a delight to pour over each individual line to catch details, imperfections, and humane blemishes, all making the songs feel closer, somehow, to the listener. A good collection that takes its time, but genuinely worth every second.