Do you want to know something I completely object to? Of course you do—if you’re a regular reader you probably long for me to go off on a rant about something negative. So… listen up: I strongly believe that those who say Oh, nothing good has been released this year have a vastly distorted vision of reality. Their folly is that they don’t expose themselves to that which is new. Take, for example, A Certain Feeling by Bodies Of Water (MySpace)—this album is absolutely brilliant!!!
Now, let me explain why. Bodies Of Water pull the best from a very eclectic array of great modern artists, from Tilly And The Wall (listen to the horns in opener “Gold, Tan, Peach, And Grey”, and the plethora of harmony male/female vocals often shouted in pop-like manner), Celebration (they toss in a hefty dose of experimental pop melodies), The Besnard Lakes (though a bit more subtle than the other references, Bodies Of Water share a desire to indulge in elements of post-rock and, as common in several experimental groups, the more avant garde side of shoegaze), and The Arcade Fire (they pack many of their songs with the anthemic rock AF has helped champion in the past few years).
If it’s not apparent from the onset, there are very few—if any—missteps on A Certain Feeling. So few, in fact, that it’ll take me several listens to pinpoint them. And while I’ll pound through this album many times in the coming week, I simply don’t have the heart to be critical in that fashion; it’s simply not worth tarnishing the album’s greatness.
I mean, why would I want to disgrace the experimental beauty in tracks like “Under The Pines” and “Water Here”—the latter has a breathtaking horn intro that leads straight into a swaggering guitar riff and vocal choir that will instantly draw out tears of joy. Their sound is so rich and melodic, whether it’s the jazz-influenced guitar riffs, the fanciful horn section, or the multiple vocalists compiling their harmonies toward epic perfection.
“Water Here” flows nicely into “Keep Me On”, the pointed repetition in lyrics driving straight into a more relaxed vocal harmony backed by a mysterious organ. I could go on all day about the importance of transitions in track listings, and how, on this album, song A fits mercilessly next to track B and carries flawlessly on into song C; I almost feel like doing so but you’d likely feign boredom and move along to something else. Besides, this review is turning out to be quite lengthy as-is.
So, running down the list of bands I’ve familiarized myself with this year, the number is astonishingly large. While a great deal of them can be discarded as lacking notoriety (in that they’re simply not good, bland, or flat-out terrible), a significant number are phenomenal. Bodies Of Water is one of the latter and A Certain Feeling will certainly go down as one of the best albums of the year!
Secretly Canadian [12″ LP, 2008]
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