Water & Bodies

Water & Bodies EP

Written by: TL on 14/06/2009 15:17:32

Another day, another hangover and another previously unheard of indie rock band from somewhere in the States. That's how my sunday looks at present moment, fortunately however, today's band, Water And Bodies and their new self titled EP, are making things look a good deal more interesting than could be feared. The Portland, Oregon-based quartet play a familiar style of soaring melodic pop-rock, directly comparable to that of bands like Your Vegas, Keane and A-Ha.

This might not immediately sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but it actually isn't too bad, mainly because Water & Bodies are a band who are seemingly very well aware of where they have their biggest asset, namely in singer/pianist Christopher Ruff. His vocals, sounding a bit like George Michael's, are the star of the set and the songs on "Water & Bodies EP" are structured accordingly, giving them the proper room to shine. Ruff has got a fairly high registry and he shifts effortlessly from subtle to powerful singing into falsetto and back, impressing while being an absolute joy to listen to, so thumbs up for that. All together, the band seems to maybe have a slight thing for U2, as their subtle, simple, echoing guitar and piano notes paint the same kind of atmospheric background, and when Ruff really let's loose on the EP's best song, "Free World", you get the feeling that he'd like to save it as well, the world that is, just like Bono.

All in all there's not much to criticize Water & Bodies for, except for the relatively low measures of edge and ambition at play on this release. The instrumentals here are so loyally dedicated to supporting Ruff's singing that they hardly leave you remembering any one piece of catchy melody after the EP ends, and while I do think it's actually rather classy to avoid sucking up to the pop audience like this, it still leaves the band with a problem if all there is to identify them with is a good singer. Obviously having good songs helps, and especially the two on the player below here deserve to be mentioned in that category, but then they're counterbalanced a bit by a song like "Celebration Song" that has a chorus with a melody line that sounds a bit forced somehow.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that the music is in order here, so W&B can safely up the level of ambition for their next release, hopefully also finding a way to profile themselves a bit better, lest they should appear just a bit too safe and polished for their own good. The EP maybe can't quite compete with the top dogs of this genre (Your Vegas, Dredg even?), but I'll still take it over The Fray or Coldplay.


Download: Free World, Something I Can Grasp
For The Fans Of: Keane, Your Vegas, U2, A-Ha
Listen: myspace.com/waterandbodies

Release Date 15.05.2009
Rain City Records

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