by Eli Shively (@shivelyeli)
“Hear the noise you weren’t meant to hear ‘til the end of the song,” boasts Meatbodies’ Facebook bio, as if to sell the band’s visceral brand of psychedelic fuzz as a shortcut — they’ve somehow managed to unlock the full potential of rock and roll, and now they’re passing the savings onto you. More feelings per second. Skip the wait.
Alice, the Los Angeles solo-project-turned-trio’s second full-length effort, fully delivers on that promise. From a record largely based in classic psych rock conventions, it doesn’t hesitate to reveal what it has up its sleeve rather than slowly unraveling little by little. Wholly satisfying tunes are built on laying all the cards on the table from the get-go, allowing the listener to stop guessing and start enjoying.
And thankfully, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Alice is a record built on texture, tone, and (most importantly) riffs — the three major vehicles of instant gratification in rock music, the brick and mortar that builds up to spine-chilling payoffs again and again. Frontman Chad Ubovich and Eric Bauer’s production is almost more exciting than the songs themselves, the thick, crunchy guitars meticulously crafted like works of fine art. The composition of the cover art not-so-coincidentally compliments the sonic inner workings of the record, equal parts eye popping and intricate, instantly grabbing the audience’s attention while at the same time suggesting that there’s more to discover beneath the surface.
The “more to discover” in this case is a surprisingly quite varied collection of sounds, from weirdly soothing, bubbly effects to the occasional synth thrown into the mix every once in a while. Alice expertly toes the line between immersive and alienating; listeners that don’t usually enjoy more intense psych or jam-oriented music are treated to more than their fair share of weirdness without the steep learning curve. It’s like a very well-executed psych record disguised as fun, distortion-heavy garage rock.
That’s perhaps the most important thing about Alice — it’s not only a fun and rewarding listen, it also subtly shifts genre boundaries in order to fill a niche that a lot of listeners may not know they deserve. There’s plenty of strange, colorful garage bands out there these days, but there aren’t many with the attention to detail and dedication to the craft that Meatbodies bring to the table. This stellar second effort has the potential to earn the band a well-deserved higher level of attention in the coming months.