Bodies of Water | Eyes Will Pop & Ears Will Blink (Thousand Tongues)

cd_bodiesEach song changes direction without notice. Vocals flutter in and out of the mix, trumpets flare and then disappear into quiet, and drums pounce vibrantly before settling into a soothing beat.

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently, all those Christians are right: God really does work in mysterious ways. This became clear to me after I listened to the first track off Bodies of Water's debut LP, Eyes Will Pop & Ears Will Blink. Although not a Christian band by any means, Bodies of Water's faith is apparent not only in their lyrics, but also in the music. With four-part harmonies that often sound like a full cathedral full of voices, Bodies of Water make sweeping pop music littered with an abundance of strings and bombastic horns.

With two guys, two girls and an omnipotent being, this Los Angeles-based foursome has a lineup similar to an old ABC favorite. Just like the pizza place serves as the background for the wacky life of those four twentysomethings, it is God who serves as the backdrop for Bodies of Water. Each song ascends to a higher realm as guitars crescendo and voices soar. Instead of sounding like a sum of their influences, which range from gospel to punk and theater to pop, Bodies of Water filter these varied influences through the majestic trope of church music.

Standout track "These Are the Eyes" begins with marching drums, bleating horns and chanted vocals that eventually slow down into gently strummed acoustic guitar before erupting into lovely call and response between male and female. In yet another turn, horns are added to the mix and the guitars speeds up, testing just how fast they can take it, before erupting into chants of "These are my eyes, these are the eyes of my eyes." It's an absolutely "indie-liscious" (thank you) pop song that challenges how many mood and tempo changes a song should have.

Having spent countless hours of my childhood trying to forget church songs, listening to a Christian-inspired band that sometimes resembles church music doesn't sound something I'd like to do. But where church music is boring and formulaic, Bodies of Water are nothing of the sort. Each song changes direction without notice. Vocals flutter in and out of the mix, trumpets flare and then disappear into quiet, and drums pounce vibrantly before settling into a soothing beat.

"It Moves" not only serves as an example of what makes Bodies of Water great, but also what makes this album occasionally drag. The song begins with a slow, rhythmic pounding of drums and eerie chanting, and by the time a warbly guitar is added to the mix, you're already in a trance. This is where Bodies of Water run into problems. Instead of writing lyrics, they're content to ooh and ahh their way through many songs. Don't get me wrong; I like oohs and ahhs as much as the next guy, but eventually I want to hear real words. However, when the song comes out of its psychedelic trance and the vocals return, the result is simply stunning.

Another track that deserves mention is "Doves Circled the Sky." Again utilizing the ages old call-and-response patter, "Doves Circled the Sky" contains one of the catchiest and most beautiful choruses I've heard in years. With twinkling piano and swirling violins, the song reaches levels not attained by most pop bands, but like many other Bodies of Water songs, oohs and ahhs take over the main stage.

In somewhat of a coincidence, or divine plan by God to reform me of my heathen ways and to help direct me to the land of milk and honey by conniving with PR writers and website editors, one quarter of all CDs I've reviewed for Playback have been by Christian-influenced bands. This may turn off some critics, but as long as they continue to be as inspiring as Eyes Will Pop & Ears Will Blink, send me all the Christian-influenced pop you've got. A- | Mike Tangaro

RIYL: The Rosebuds, Danielson, Arcade Fire

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