Need New Body's self-titled debut is a sprawling, genre-defying behemoth of an album. Spread over 22 tracks, it's a postmodern musical masterpiece that succeeds where other like-minded experiments have failed. Instead of combining musical styles in the forced and ultra-serious way characteristic of many so-called post-rock bands, Need New Body operate with a sense of playfulness and surrealistic humor, splicing musical genes and creating something like a one-disc condensation of the entire Frank Zappa discography -- but with a much more spontaneous and off-the-cuff feel that belies the band members' indie rock roots. Core members of Need New Body were previously in the Philadelphia-based psychedelic band Bent Leg Fatima (which disbanded in early 2000), and as might be expected, many elements of Fatima carry over to Need New Body, such a focus on drone and an overall Eastern flavor. Chicago's Bablicon also leave a heavy imprint on the music: Besides playing on many of the tracks, both together and as individuals, Blue Hawaii from Bablicon engineered the studio sessions. Members of the Lilys, Ink and Dagger, and Aspera Ad Astra also make appearances, adding a freewheeling, arts-collective feel to the proceedings, but the album's sound remains distinct from any of the guest participants. An almost vaudevillian-sounding horn honk announces the album's opener, "Dirty Bitch Medley," like an inverted clarion call sounding the beginning of a wild romp through 20th century music -- from film music ambience and free jazz freakouts to worldbeat polyrhythms and hip-hop, even spoken word and klezmer are combined fluently; mellotrons and banjo are equally at home and complementary. But despite the eclecticism, there is a definite unity and flow to the album, and even moments of outright accessibility such as the almost rockish "C R Eyeball" and the otherworldly anthem "Gamble On/Banji." Besides the obvious influence of the above-mentioned bands, the only clear point of reference is the classic Krautrock band Faust, whose spirit Need New Body seem to be able to channel at will.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Nickey