"I'm Not Coming Back" by Ollie BondReview
How Ollie Bond does it I simply cannot begin to fathom. While most if not all artists have found the past few months constraining, many have been immersed in the frustrations of lockdown & furlough, twiddling fingers & thumbs to some extent. Ollie meanwhile has not had this experience: his professional life has seen him on the frontline throughout yet he has released the critically & popularly acclaimed "Emilia" last month & now he's today giving us its follow up, "I'm Not Coming Back".
The new song is as emotional in its distinct way as was "Emilia" but sonically this one is much more Rockin' Ollie with a more conventional band arrangement which kicks in from the set off, rather than more gently building. The powerful rhythm section alone provides a strong contrast with the more ethereal previous one. That said, the mood & style is much closer to country than heavy metal with the lead guitar interventions in particular emphasising this.
The track is a Road Song and as such drives confidently forwards (while respecting the speed limit) but crucially depicts a "perfect road trip with the perfect person". From the lyrics, Ollie is clear that however seductive the lure of the road in question may be, it alone is insufficient to meet his emotional needs: he will only come back if it's with the object of his affections.
So where is this attractive trip? Well in all good songwriting style, there is a degree of ambiguity which offers multiple interpretations. The music and "West Coast" allusions tend to suggest the classic road trip across the USA, while other references to "Northern Lights" and indeed the single sleeve art might point to Finland. Wherever it might be, literally or figuratively, it is at least clear that Ollie has either a personal memory or aspiration (or both) before him here & that certainly adds to the warm charm of the song.
On yet another level, he has a message for us all: a road trip, whether actual or metaphorical offers us a return to calmness & I read into "I'm Not Coming Back" some advice to us to get out there and indulge in a little mindfulness during these days: choose the right environment, choose the right company & we can all heal.
Just the tonic. Thank you.