Over the past three years, A.A. Bondy seemed to play Columbus more than some local bands in support of his debut American Hearts. Bondy's not slowing down in the slightest, but at least he's bringing a new album this time.

Over the past three years, A.A. Bondy seemed to play Columbus more than some local bands in support of his debut American Hearts. Bondy's not slowing down in the slightest, but at least he's bringing a new album this time.

When the Devil's Loose is more of the same, which for Bondy means stark folk-rock laments gorgeously arranged for nights of quiet contemplation and/or hard drinking - some sort of grain-based moonshine, most likely, seasoned with bitter tears. Yet there's something deeply uplifting about this music, too. It's just as useful as a warm salve for whatever ails you.

Such a strong second offering shows Bondy to be one of today's most consistently satisfying songwriters. It takes a genuine master to pull off this sort of world-weary shtick without sounding full of it, and whether Bondy has suffered or not, as an artist he's the real deal.