What’s this? A band featuring former Get Up Kids and Gratitude chap Thomas Becker and signed to Epitaph? Be still my beating heart, for this is surely too good to be true.
Alas, ‘Battles’ doesn’t quite match the expectation for someone who grew up on a diet of Midwest emo and endless Jonah Matranga projects, but Beautiful Bodies have still delivered an enjoyable slice of punk-lite alt-pop.
First off, it’s worth noting that ‘Battles’ sounds fabulous, featuring a pristine production job that is far beyond the confines of punk rock. Secondly, the vocals of Alicia Solombrino are frequently outstanding, as she’s got such an expressive turn of phrase – and unique phraseology – it makes songs such as ‘She’s A Blast’ frequently interesting and engaging.
Lyrically however, ‘Battles’ is merely so-so, despite the politicised nature of songs such as ‘1973’ (no doubt in part influenced by Becker’s alternative career as a prominent human rights lawyer) and there’s a fair few clichés and obvious, yet ultimately meaningless, rhymes that might make you wince.
However, these are faults that can be overlooked as, in delivering some catchy, undemanding pop-rock, Beautiful Bodies have created a crazy sugar-rush high. Each song has the ability to effortlessly fill a dancefloor, and it’s in this crossover where you get the feeling Beautiful Bodies may make their name. Take, for example ‘Subversive Lover’ as exhibit A. If you’re not singing and bouncing along the moment the chorus hits, then you may as well pop your slippers on grandad. Unchallenging it may be, but it’s also a huge amount of fun. And ultimately, isn’t that what music’s all about?
‘Battles’ by Beautiful Bodies is out now on Epitaph Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)