Bodies of Water – “Is This What It’s Like” Review

Story posted February 19, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment by Jon Mead.

Indie rock band Bodies of Water are back at it again with their latest album release “Is This What It’s Like.”

The band introduced their fifth studio album Feb. 12, offering something relatively new compared to their past works.

Bodies of Water has met many critical praises, being compared to bands like Arcade Fire and American folk-rock vocal group The Mamas and the Papas.

Their sound has often been described as being under a different array of genres such as punk, folk and expressionism.
The band originated in 2003 from the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California and its core band members consist of married couple David and Meredith Metcalf.

At the get-go of this LP, the audience can expect to be introduced to the sounds of gorgeous strings, an orchestic backtrack and loads of funky synths. The funky disco grooves present throughout their first track are both exciting and fresh.

The second track “Back in the Canyon” consists of stompy beats and the sound of David’s deep, grainy voice and Bowie-esque vocals.
Meredith exercises her amazing vocal range capabilities in “I’ll Go With You.”

At times good, the vocals of this album start to become rather one-note — as Meredith takes a step back — letting her husband sing most of the tracks throughout this record.

This often makes it sound more somber and lacking energy as it progresses.

Although listeners can hear remnants of it — that distinct, rich and fun theatrical atmosphere from previous albums is also completely missing, something the audience may have been expecting or hoping to hear.

Compared to past projects, “Is This What It’s Like” isn’t very comparable to the 1970s vibe and the all-at-one vocal style of “Twist Again.” The raw energy from their debut “Ears Will Pop and Eyes Will Blink” is also something to be missed.

The Metcalfs didn’t just change stylistically, though, but thematically as well — this time more focused on themes of familial love and the changes life brings while trying to bring up a family.

“Every Little Bird” tackles the exploration of new beginnings, birth and the pains that accompany birth also detailing the recollections and origins of love.

The duo faced a series of setbacks that delayed the completion of their album. The challenges and drama they faced such as the miscarriage and the recent birth of their child would be fodder for most of their songs. 

“Is This What It’s Like” is a descent album that some may enjoy and adds a completely different perspective to the challenges and contemplations of later life.

What it fails stylistically at times, it makes up lyrically.

The four years it took to produce “This is What It’s Like” created anticipation and hype within some fans. But was it worth the long wait? That’s debatable.

Rating: 6/10
Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Every Little Bird” and “Back in the Canyon”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Songs: “Illuminate Yourself” and “Far, Far Away”

Jon Mead is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jkm6040@psu.edu.