Someday, someone will write a musical history of the first decade of the 21st Century and come up with definitive answers to these questions: What was with all that grandiose indie pop? The 17-member bands with everyone singing wordless “whoa-oh-oh-ohs” in harmony? The nonrock instruments like trumpets and accordions and glockenspiels? Wasn’t it sort of a fundamental premise of indie pop that it should be small — in album sales, in the size of its band lineups, in musical ambition? Why was it happening in North America right then, as the music industry was in a death spiral and rock ’n’ roll was losing its force as a cultural touchstone? And, not to put too fine a point on it, but why was all this happening right when a lousy economy, a bad war, and a threatened environment meant that everything else about North American culture was being served a heaping portion of humble pie?
That will make a good book someday — if they still have books in the future. For now, we don’t need to think too much about why we like a band like Bodies of Water; we can just enjoy the swell of its sound, the spectacle of their shows, the camaraderie of an audience singing along.
In describing this Los Angeles band, the obvious comparisons are Arcade Fire and the Polyphonic Spree, but Bodies of Water is less dark than the former and less cutesy than the latter. To me, Bodies of Water sounds less like a religious experience and more like a rock ’n’ roll band. Questions of grandiosity aside, we still need our rock ’n’ roll bands.
- Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 8:30 p.m.
- Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego