Highland Park's own Bodies of Water has achieved this without ever having to step on the plank. Once things do get aqueous, they're downright heavenly.
Made up of a miniature indie rock choir – David Metcalf (guitar), Kyle Gladden (bass ), Meredith Metcalf (organ), Jessie Conklin (drums ) – with a few brass and string players thrown in for good measure, Bodies of Water are often looked at as L.A.'s answer to Arcade Fire, in due part to their tidal wave stream sound.
The similarities run even deeper as two members, David and Meredith are not only sworn in through the sanctity of indie rock, but through the bond of marriage. As our Canadian friends' sophomore record, Neon Bible, sounds Springsteen-esque at times, comparisons to Bodies of Water's debut LP Ears Will Pop and Eyes Will Blink (tentative release set for early May) don't stem from a sound from the Jersey turnpike, but from a place between Sweden and Jim Henson's workshop.
“I think the ABBA meets the Muppets [reference] comes from [the fact that] we all sing together,” Meredith says. “I like that reference because it goes a little bit deeper. It has that childlike nostalgia which is pretty cool. We don't necessarily want to sound like the Muppets. Our music has a lot of roots in gospel.”
The sounds of the most high can be attributed to David, who according to his other half, grew up attracted by the immediacy, earnestness and plain honesty of gospel music. Deconstructed, that beating pulse is spilled theatrically as the synergy of all four members exudes loud harmonies that burst before a single note is played.
Equally as massive as the guitar riff or bemoans of the trombone are those vocals: searing, always soaring to the heavens. If we humans are composed 75 percent of water, that extra 25 percent in the members of Bodies of Water is filled with the divine, via the big guy upstairs.
“When you make music it comes from who you are,” Meredith says. “We do believe in God. We do want to align ourselves with him in thought and deed and try to do things that are pleasing to him, but it's not a conscious effort. It comes out when you're making music because all you have to work with is what you're made up of.”
The man has taught the band well. As they avoid the normalcies of pop song structures and incorporate a fresh new L.A. sound of mini song suites (“We Are Co-Existors,” “These Are The Eyes”) all primed to make a big splash in 2007 (an upcoming residency at the Echo and an excursion to the belly of the beast: SXSW), the band is modest to a tee.
“We're still not very good technically,” Meredith says. “We don't jam out and blow people's minds. We're good enough to do what we do and be able to have fun and enjoy while we do it and not stress about what notes we're playing. We just got better through playing regularly and practicing but not that much.”
For more information, visit www.bodiesofwater.net .