Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Brad Kopplin
Bodies of Water guitarist and one of its singers David Metcalf alludes to the process of writing his band's songs as being an arduous and taxing one. It is a real labor of patience and brain/soul-busting that has to go into the making of the stretching and adventurous patterns and designs that they lay to the tape. They shame ordinary, straight-forward minded songs into submission, sitting on them and making them feel like phony bologna, just not ambitious enough for the taste buds of the hungry maker and devourers.
They've all four taken their divining rods out from their protective sheaths - where they also might pouch their frisbie golf discs and utensils when the divining rods aren't necessarily needed that day - and listen intently to their vibrations. Their willow witching turns up the stuff they're looking for in many different places below the ground surface. Meredith Metcalf might turn up a cool water cavern, a pocket of crystal clear vocals of pretty, but ominous lions and tigers, peacocks and bears. She begins hammering into the soil with a pick axe and when she strikes something hard and solid below her point, she gets down on her hands and knees and begins pulling the dirt out of the hole with her stringy fingers, anxious to crack that casing open and to get to the refreshment that's hiding inside. She shares the treasure in all of the group's billowing and blowing songs of compromised positions and the various ways that our wavy, tide-turning bodies make their ways through existences that are typically way beyond our own hands.
It might have something to do with a spiritual feeling, or it just may be the way it be, coasting through the chambers of a time-honored passage of time - all of it that goes bad and all of it that stays lasting as some sort of trophy, something that we put away in a spot that will require frequent dustings, but we keep it around, because it's good to remember. So, there's Meredith holding the two handles of her willow branch in her palms and believing what it tells her because it's rarely too wrong and along comes her brother David, with his own divining rod, keeping his head down and wandering, digging somewhere further away, around a bend, in different light, where the waters that he presents from the earth might have the taste of buttermilk or lilacs - just the faintest skimmings of them. He digs where he thinks it's right.
Drummer Jessie Conklin is led in another direction and bassist Kyle Gladden stakes out elsewhere, but when they dig enough in their separate places, eventually, all four holes touch and become one and that's where the songs from A Certain Feeling come from in their ultimate ancestry. They are the result of one great dig, a search for precious metals and more precious yearnings and inklings that could very well be the chattering of our unifying inner voice, the one that we all hear ourselves in. They make music that is undeniably challenging in its length and its frame, but is the part of us all that strives to be different and to look for our own thirst-quenchers and our own particular milieus, those brackets that accept our eccentricities as well as define them.
Bodies of Water is a band that will come to a Halloween costume party dressed as something or someone that will not be guessed by anyone. It should come as no surprise, however, as they do that the rest of the year too, constantly recalling idiosyncratic figures and shapes, dressing themselves and their art into clothing fit for fireflies making slow ascents, blinking out their lights just as a cupped hand is growing nearer and nearer to capturing it and its lovely bulb. When seen again, the lightning bug is well off, further to the left and higher in the air. Then, like the Bodies of Water, it repositions itself somewhere else you'd least expect it.
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