Bodies of Water

Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink

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Although Los Angeles' Bodies of Water claim to have drawn much of their influence from American folk and gospel music, they actually sound much nearer to the California pop and psychedelic rock of the '60s and '70s. On Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink, their Secretly Canadian re-released debut, rich male/female harmonies, and flanged guitars with plenty of Morricone-echo layer over one another in sweeping circles that continue on for minutes on end, the whole thing a kind of the Mamas & the Papas-meet-the Polyphonic Spree extravaganza. Voices quaver in unison as verses and choruses that laud the majesty of the earth rise to the forefront. This is theatrical, intense music that makes no apologies about the oftentimes religious nature of its lyrics ("We are co-resistors/All resisting Satan's fingers," "Then He spoke and the locusts came," and "I turned my face from God," for example) or the lushness of its arrangements, the overly dramatic swoops and background vocals, the question-and-answers, the strings and organ and the thumping drums, the songs that stretch easily past the four-minute mark, the overt joyfulness. This is music informed by the Byrds and Rilo Kiley and the Beach Boys, music that could only be born in the West Coast sun, and music that unwittingly finds itself entangled in your brain. But although it's melodic and warm and friendly, the lack of distinct hooks that plague many of the songs, the phrase repetition, and the over-eagerness of the bandmembers can be a little tiresome, especially as the album passes the 40-minute mark without much of an end in sight. The earnest lyrics, while sometimes quite effective, can also be rather clunky, a juxtaposition showcased all too well in the opus "I Turned My Face," which gives the listener the lovely "I may not have a lot/But what you have, you have surely got," along with the awkward and forced "And when your face was turned/It ceased to be pleasingly cherubic." The intentions are certainly good here, and there are moments of pop brilliance ("It Is Familiar," the hook of "These Are the Eyes"), but as an overall composition, its length and self-importance cause it to miss the mark.

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