Within the confines of real life, Bodies of Water accomplishes something magnificent
Bodies of Water
Is This What It’s Like
Link: Official Site
Fate has played a role in making sure Is This What It’s Like exists for our pleasure. This is not a reference to the pandemic, although I wager that it has an indirect cause. This album’s story begins with the disbursement of the band as we know it; the one that gave us the powerful 2017’s Spear in the City.
Bandmates made an exodus out of California and simply moved on in life. This left the core members David and Meredith Metcalf to determine the fate of the band. One question remained: How do we make this work? The answer was not simple. Some things were effortless like re-enlisting Kyle Gladden—one of the band’s founding members—back into the fold. But life is not a clear path, and oftentimes unforeseen circumstances got in the way of David and Meredith’s vision. But with the help of Alic Lin’s intent dedication and some old friends, Is This What It’s Like took shape.
During this time, David became infatuated with Arabic pop music from the 1960s and 1970s. This was a time when rock and synths were being added into the international flavor of Lebanese and Egyptian pop while pointing toward the vibrancy of 1970s soul. He extracted the enlightenment of this style and incorporated it into “Every Little Bird.” The way the guitars reverberate while the strings answer the call is exciting. And then everything comes into focus. Musical communication is paramount to the success of the song. The way the synths react to the rhythm and the strings add their level of depth, it’s one glorious revival. Having the rustic vocal palette of these singers is an added bonus.
To elaborate, the album was recorded and mixed in Dave and Meredith’s garage. Their process is simplistic and organic in approach—to record each instrument live with no studio effects or sequencing involved. The synths are a little roughed up. The percussion feels real. With focus, you can pick out certain pieces in the chorus instead of a wall of glossed-over sound hitting you like a wall. This is the charm of the album that transforms Is This What It’s Like into an adventure.
David’s voice is stained from the open air of the San Gabriels. “Back in the Canyon” builds off of a folklore feel that binds together a montage of Western mythos and back porch crooning. “Far, Far Away” is an even better example. The starlit melodies come out of late nights listening to someone like Nat King Cole or George Brassens. “Women in Love” burns a blue flame of seduction. The tone is complex yet introspective, carving away at the philosophy of love and love lost.
Meredith’s songs point more towards the emotions of 1960s soul and R&B. “I’ll Go With You” is a beautiful song that takes apart timeless musical ethics and makes it their own. “The One I Loved Too Much” maintains that mantra while wraps around us in 1970s amber. Her melancholic demeanor stands out within its own fragility.
As you can see, Bodies of Water deviates from “Every Little Bird.” Listen closely and you will find little hints of it in other songs, whether it is the kaleidoscope pop of “I Knew Your Brother” or the gypsy transcendentalism of “Trust Your Love.”
Like surgeons, they peel back the layers of the concept of love and examine them to provide perspective of life that is musically unique and refreshing.
Bodies of Water—Every Little Bird
1. Every Little Bird
2. Back in the Canyon
3. I’ll Go With You
4. Never Call Me Again
5. Trust Your Love
6. Say Goodnight
7. Far, Far Away
8. The One I Loved Too Much
9. Women in Love
10. I Knew Your Brother
11. Illuminate Yourself