Remember when The Beatles and David Bowie teamed up to make a woozy psych record that melded together the doom-laden majesty of Black Sabbath and the groovier side of Led Zeppelin but with an otherworldly pop motif? No…? Ok, that record doesn’t exist per se but with Meatbodies’ sophomore album ‘ALICE’ they’ve had a damn good stab at it. Helmed by Chad Ubovich – who also plays bass with Fuzz, is part of Mikal Cronin’s touring band, as well as having the connections with Ty Segall – ‘ALICE’ finds our protagonist weaving through a hazy kaleidoscope of influences; trippy pop morphs into psychedelic whirls of colour before giving way to monstrous walls of sound as if Thor himself has jettisoned his trusty hammer in favour of a guitar. The juxtaposition of Ubovich’s dope-fuelled vocal and when Meatbodies crank it up to 11 is a peculiar union that fits ‘ALICE’s quirky make up when on paper it shouldn’t.
‘ALICE’ rolls out like an epic battle of the bands, when guitar music was at its zenith, when musicians who handled guitars were Gods and the ground shook in their wake. It’s a Jekyll and Hyde album of sorts, one that appears free-spirited and draped in tie-dye. Cue a montage of hippies and peace signs running through your mind. However, lurking in the shadows is a menacing beast, that of guttural guitar riffs and the kind of demonic cacophony usually reserved for horror films and your (best) worst nightmares. ‘Kings’ is where the psyche and the bombastic side of Meatbodies lock horns – neither side gaining an overriding advantage but ultimately producing a muscular, hypnotic trip. ‘Scavenger’ does a good job at keeping the angelic and the devilish at an arm’s length but the dark side slowly consumes the light as the track evolves into a malevolent predator. ‘Disciples’ and ‘Gyre’ strut like ravenous beasts, hunting out the vulnerable flower-power children to feast on their innocent flesh. All things to do with peace and love are forgotten on the down turned fuzzed up malice of ‘Count Your Fears’ and the same can be said for the scuzzy rumble that underpins ‘Haunted History’. Such is the level of guitar-virtuosity; you can almost feel the clouds part to expose Thor ripping through his fretboard like a Norse God possessed.
‘ALICE’ is like an untouched artefact of rock’s past – unearthed in a time capsule and ready to be set free to cause untold havoc and destruction.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams