Happy Body Slow Brain’s Dreams Of Water
Monday, April 4, 2011 Leave a comment
I recently drove up to Kelseyville, CA (read: middle of nowhere) to visit a close friend of mine. Before I started my drive, I decided there were a few albums I needed to listen to, including Dredg’s El Cielo, Protest the Hero’s Scurrilous, Thrice’s Beggars, and last, but not least, Happy Body Slow Brain’s Dreams of Water. Admittedly, a couple of those were a bad choice for windy mountain roads late at night since they make me a bit sleepy, but they all have one thing in common: they are phenomenal albums. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Happy Body Slow Brain.
I’ll be the first to admit that, upon first listen, I brushed off HBSB as a good band, but didn’t bother listening to them again. That was until fellow Wrecker, Ben “Gremlin” Everett’s band, Case in Theory, played a show with them. I can’t remember the last time I was so blown away or even enjoyed a band that much in San Jose. You see, San Jose bands have a big problem, in my opinion: they have no idea how to use dynamics, both in recordings and live performances. So, most albums and bands out of the area sound almost monotonous, like they have no soul to them. That’s fucking boring. Happy Body Slow Brain corrects everything San Jose bands have done wrong and then throws their own flavor into it.
Dreams of Water is a great album. It sounds as if it was written with careful consideration as to how the songs would relate to each other. It’s one of those albums that takes you on a journey with actual peaks and valleys. The piano does a very good job complementing the rest of the band, but I shouldn’t expect anything less from guitarist Isaac Bolivar, who performs a lot of them, including the Rhodes. He is an excellent musician since his days in Weslester and even before that.
The guitar work is really intricate, but the average listener may not pick up on the subtleties, just the fact that it’s good music. I especially love the parts when it gets to a “wall of sound” stage because they did it right. It’s not a wall of noise; it’s music you can actually distinguish.
My only complaints? The production could have been way better. I get it, it’s the indie thing to do, but it still could have been better. However, it doesn’t really detract from the quality of songwriting. Hearing the album after seeing them live, though, it’s a bit disappointing. One of my favorite parts in their catalog are the drums during the chorus of “Emperor.” On the album, it was super disappointing simply because I couldn’t hear it stand out. Oh well, I’ll get over it.
Anyway, if you want to listen to a good album on the quieter side of the spectrum, then I suggest picking up Happy Body Slow Brain’s Dreams of Water. It’s still rock ‘n roll, but not the loud kind we normally write about here. They’re great musicians and they write good, innovative music, which is a rare feat nowadays.
Wrecked Rating: 4 / 5
Standout tracks: “Emperor” and “The Bridge”