An Uncertain Feeling

A Certain Feeling, Bodies of Water
Out 7/22
Secretly Canadian Records

1. Gold, Tan, Peach, and Grey
2. Under the Pines
3. Only You
4. Water Here
5. Keep Me On
6. Darling, Be Here
7. Even in a Cave
8. If I Were A Bell
9. The Mud Gapes Open

For the many that have not heard of this band, welcome to the Bodies of Water experience. The band has made a living out of mixing several aspects of indie, gospel, and "we have about 25 too many people in this band"-type vocals, and this release is no different. That being said, I still can't decide as to whether it is better than 2007's Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink, or not. While maintaining the overall style that made them original in a cloud of indie white noise, the more somber and reserved feel of A Certain Feeling can do quite a lot to disappoint those expecting a continuation of their previous work- which, as I've said, may, or may not be a bad thing.
Go back to 2007. Bodies of Water burst onto the scene with something that was astounding (I'll apologize for the sensationalism now). It shouted, it screamed, it sang from the tops of buildings. The album made you feel like you were witnessing Arcade Fire: The Musical, if you'd even dare wander down that road. I saw something new- something which, (as I've said) amongst the white noise that is the current indie scene, had yelled out in protest of the monotony of the genre. Imagine a gospel choir singing tunes in the style of 1950s musicals, over inventive sonic selections of brass and strings. It's easy to be excited about something so unique.

Now, fast forward one year, to their newest musical venture. The gang-singing is still alive and well, but lacking most of the gospel crispness of the past. It still sounds like a chorus careening out of control above the ever-soaring horns, but this time we see a segmentation of the parts, a more-military alignment within the time signatures. The majority of the album keeps itself at a march of perhaps 90 bpm. The vocals separate, seemingly permeating each other, then weave themselves back out to their original form. While still utilizing the art of the gospel choruses from before, the band takes full advantage of distinct harmonies which had previously gone ignored.

So what does A Certain Feeling mean? It could be a direct reference to the sense of the album. Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink seemed to directly refer to the feel of the album. You were surprised- your ears perked up, your eyes seemed to twitch in excitement, as you took in what you were hearing, and imagined where it could go from that point. The new album- maybe it invokes a certain feeling in everyone, just different from person to person. So different, it's difficult to put a finger on it, which is exactly why the band made an album title so vague. I won't say that this theory is carved in stone. It's just an idea; something I came up with while thinking about the album itself, and can easily be up for debate.

My suggestions: Give this album a chance, whether you were a listener previously, or not. If not, I'd suggest last year's album first, but feel free to do what you wish. Some recommended tracks, in my book- "Gold, Tan, Peach, and Grey", "Darling Be Here", "Under the Pines" and "Even in a Cave". If you're a big (or even marginal) fan of Arcade Fire, Bowerbirds or Black Kids (amongst other bands), this could be the album for you. Anyone who's wary of the musical aspects, fear not. The new album features many more rock aspects, focusing on more guitar- and piano-driven melodies than the unconventional machinations of the first release.

Grade: 7/10; I don't think I'm being harsh here at all- my standards for 8 and above are higher than most. If you're into this type of music, then you'll like it, but if not, you could dislike it quite a bit. I'd sample a few songs first, if you're not sure. They did a Daytrotter session last week, so that may be your best course of action.

Under The Pines - Bodies Of Water

No comments: