Monday, March 11, 2013
Ablebody - All My Everybody - EP Review
Former Depreciation Guild and Pains of Being Pure at Heart guitarist Christoph Hochheim has created a new solo project called Ablebody, and will be premiering his new songs live at SXSW. Appearing to have put aside his primary instrument in favor of synths, samplers and a laptop, the most surprising aspect are vocals much stronger than anyone could have anticipated (since he never sang in either of those bands). The recently released 5 song EP’s cover image is a seated body with no head, placing clear emphasis on the band name meaning. That of an able body, ready for instructions.
Chimes on the dominant beat accentuate the multilayered atmospherics of first single“Sally Hot Jazz.” With vocals that evoke Tears For Fears at their peak (“Sowing The Seeds Of Love”) the chord progression does in fact touch the edges of actual jazz. Wonderfully streamlined at under three minutes in length, impeccably crisp synth textures share sonic space with a marching, natural sounding percussion (capably supplied by former Depreciation Guild band member and twin brother Anton) while otherworldly sine waves build to a sunburst conclusion.
“No Room For I” expands on this sonic palette as its near five minutes in length would allow. Brief moments of sparser instrumentation encourages focus on the emotion being conveyed. Curiously, this wonderfully strange and mysterious song’s title does not seem to be mentioned even once. However, hook sequences with the repeated lyrics “one more night” and “I can see your eyes” create the sense of wonder as to why it wasn’t called either of those. Vocal placement is artfully crafted here as deeper harmony cascades under the higher register lead.
The cleverly titled “Phantasy” pops along a synth bass and danceable beat with those wonderful chiming bell sound samples at the forefront. Using perhaps The Pet Shop Boys as a reference point this time, the bridges are still more sophisticated structurally, with minor chord passages lifting the track above mindless dancefloor fare.
“Quick & Painless” slows everything down significantly. Near dirge-like in overall pacing, chirping synth textures evoke “The Man Who Fell To Earth” era David Bowie . The overall feeling is as reverential as seeing sunlight streaming through a cathedral’s stained glass window.
Closing track “Sister Marie” is a Harry Nilsson composition that surprises, not only as a cover choice, but also in its execution. Presenting this one as something you might hear on a post-Pink Floyd Syd Barrett solo album, it is perhaps a fitting conclusion to a most creative debut.
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