Release Date: Jul 22, 2008
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Los Angeles has a history of breeding religious cults, many of which have dabbled in music (the Manson family, the Source). Now there’s Bodies of Water. The religion might not be outré (the band is Christian, as many of its lyrics will attest to), but the music is definitely big, group-inclusive (the core band is a foursome, but live its personage can reach double digits) and ecstatic.
If Bodies of Water are going to suffer inevitable comparisons to groups like the Arcade Fire and, to an extent, Akron/Family and other similarly minded call-and-response singalong-grandly indie rock types, then that's the nature of the business and the context they're in -- the solution is to keep at it as best as they can. Which they do -- if A Certain Feeling is primed and set for certain listening expectations, they're still fulfilled enjoyably enough. The lead vocals of husband-and-wife team David and Meredith Metcalf perhaps even more inevitably call the Arcade Fire to mind, but their singing is less mega-theatrical and more cabaret dramatic in a sly sense; set against moments like the shuddering lounge groove on the verses of "Under the Pines," the effect can be very enjoyable.
Los Angeles’ Bodies of Water are a group that conglomerate as many sounds as their name would suggest. Essentially a four piece, they don’t yield at that number; and despite the full-bodied bombast that their adaptive ensemble enables, their tailored core always returns to the juxtaposition of Meredith and David Metcalf’s vocals. The first seconds of A Certain Feeling begin with Meredith’s bare vocal poise; soon followed by David’s.
The success of a band like The Decemberists is not immaterial for discussing the existence of a band like Bodies of Water. Not that the former is an influence on the latter – Bodies of Water was already a band before The Decemberists gained mainstream acclaim. The point of bringing up Mr. Meloy is that the landmark success of a certain style often creates a niche, a niche that exposes artists that play the same kind of music, or use the same strategy, or are tangentially related to that successful band.