Release Date: Jun 21, 2011
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Bodies of Water have been on hiatus for the last couple of years, while the band's central forces, David and Meredith Metcalf, indulged their fetish for 1970s pop with Music Go Music. Something in them seems to have been exorcised by the change of scene, because Twist Again, BoW's third album, is a calmer, more controlled affair than either of its predecessors. The four-part gospel choir has been abandoned in favour of a focus on David's brooding baritone and Meredith's nightingale trill, and where familiar musical ingredients appear – abrupt changes in tempo, flurrying saxophones, galloping guitars – it's with an appealing new restraint.
All the recent end-of-the-world predictions have made 1970s Godsploitation flick A Thief in the Night suddenly relevant again. Dramatizing a post-Rapture socialist society and featuring a song written by Christian rock wunderkind Larry Norman (unfortunately performed by the awful Fishmarket Combo), the movie is an intriguing artifact from a time when believers didn't flee from popular culture but embraced it as a vehicle for a spiritual mission. It's a sharp contrast to the 80s, when the Satanic Panic scared many Christians away from rock music, and to the 90s, when the Christian rock industry marketed itself as a message-first alternative to secular music.
LA-based Bodies of Water play a familiar grab bag of recent indie touchstone sounds, from haunting female-led British folk on the opener “One Hand Loves the Other”, to vamping electric Neil Young rock with a country flair on “Open Rhythms”. They do it all with an ear for the melodramatic. It’s as if they were composing a musical about an indie band making an album.
On their earlier albums, the L.A.-based Bodies of Water went for an expansive, Arcade Fire-via-Polyphonic Spree kind of sound, with grand arrangements, ensemble vocals, and an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink aesthetic. For 2011's Twist Again, however, the group -- still based around multi-instrumentalist David Metcalf and his wife Meredith -- have changed things up a bit. For one thing, they've pared down their sound, in terms of both production and material.
The second musical offspring of LA husband and wife psych-poppers David and Meredith Metcalf is of the most refined of breeding. Inspired by the way Nelson Riddle arranged [a]Frank Sinatra[/a]’s records so no instrument was ever in the same range as Frank’s voice, it delves, saxophones and all, into ’60s freakery, free of trendy fuzz.It’s beautifully crisp on the campy Walker Brothers romp of [b]‘Mary, Don’t You Weep’[/b]. [b]‘One Hand Loves The Other’[/b], meanwhile, dabbles in hymnal folk-rock embroidery.