A Certain Feeling
The strains that one can hear running through all of Bodies of Water's music are fully exhibited here; instantly familiar melodies, rich harmonic color, expansively deft arrangements, and compositions that ebb, flow, and double back on themselves in cathartic synchronicity. Though no two songs sound entirely similar, it's a cohesive collection that comes out feeling like the anthemic prog/gospel/psychedelic/kraut-tribal movie score that Ennio Morricone and Phil Spector never got around to collaborating on. The choral hugeness that typified "Ears Will Pop" still rears it's emphatic head, only here its more often held in reserve as we marinate in each movement before being pulled along into the next passage of the narrative.
"A Certain Feeling" is the sound of a band carving out an ever-evolving, but distinct aesthetic niche for themselves. Steve Reich organ figures blend into a Wagner meets Sabbath riff. A shape-note choir is dropped into the midst of an Upsetters/ESG jam. Musique concrete meanderings beget Velvet Underground plodding that escalates into a five-time tropicalia workout. In spite of (or because of) the record's breadth, its easy to see the group's fingerprints all over. The singing, playing, compositions, lyrical themes (obsessive meta-physicality/spiritual surrender/human frailty) are unmistakably Bodies of Water's. "A Certain Feeling" is a step forward, but assuredly filled with the same beautiful urgency that we have come to expect from them.
(SC177 released: 07/22/08)