Album Review – Water & Bodies – ‘Light Year’

Water & Bodies are an alternative rock band from Portland, Oregon.  They kind of sound like a mix between latter day emo bands and something from the late 90’s alt scene.  The first bands I thought of, at least, were Coheed and Cambria, the Ataris, and Hawthorne Heights.  Unfortunately, I’m no longer up to speed on music with this amount of angst, but I could definitely see current teens digging this album.  Of course, that’s only if they remember what it’s like to hear a song that doesn’t have auto-tune all over it…

I digress.  Water & Bodies have made an album that sounds fantastic.  Whoever produced Light Year knows what they’re doing with this type of music, that’s for sure.  When it comes to the songs themselves, though, things start to get a bit out of sync.  Opener “Celebration Song” starts out great, but drags on for an extra minute with a second bridge that isn’t really necessary.  “Free World” is pretty cool musically, but the vocals don’t really change through the song, except for maybe the random falsetto.  It also has that extra instrumental part and unnecessary outro bogging it down…

“Moments in Life” is much better and an obvious single, with a solid distinction between verse and chorus.  Memorable and catchy, even if it has an extra chorus on the end.  Starting to see a pattern?  “Parallels” is next, and has the same chorus as the preceding song, but without the hook and 30 seconds longer.  If Styx, YES, and Foreigner could have written a song together, “Echoes” would have been an 80’s prog-rock hit.  “The Return” was better than I thought it would be, and uses a string section quite nicely.  The drummer really makes this song stand out, and the longer structure finally benefits a tune.

Getting into the second half, title track “Light Year” unfortunately doesn’t have a chorus to hold it together.  It’s quickly forgotten when the superior “1980” starts up, boasting heavier guitar and the second best chorus on the album.  Then it goes for an extra minute and I get sad inside.  “Lonely Night” follows and is thankfully a good length, as well as a good song.  The early-AFI background vocals are a cool touch too.  “Written & Read” was cool for thirty seconds, but I couldn’t listen to another six minutes of it unless forced.  Not that it’s bad per se, just loooooong.

“Already Gone” closes out the record and is another nice song, though it could do without that epic guitar drowning out the entire chorus.  It would probably be better acoustic, though I don’t think this band would favor that form.  The random piano at the end makes up for the heaviness, and sums up my feelings for the album.  A long listen that has some really cool random parts that make up for some weird musical choices.

With at least three solid songs to carry Light Year, Water & Bodies just need to tighten the reins on whatever they do next, and they’ll be sure to attract more followers.

For more information on Water & Bodies check out their official website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. Get Light Year now on iTunes

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