I’m hard pressed to remember a time where I have been anxiously waiting for a record from a band that was thrown on my radar at complete random. I stumbled across Body Thief at a local festival two years ago and became enamored. I was captivated by their talent and surprised to discover that they were in their infancy. They played a lot of songs that ended up being on this record and I needed to hear them again as soon as possible. I’m extremely pleased to announce that the time has finally come.
‘Speak in Hibernation’ is a record that prides itself on a deceptive mix of simplicity and complexity. At its core, this record is simple in terms of instruments. You can easily single out every instrument and follow their contribution to each song, but you can also choose to listen to the songs at a broader perspective and hear how every pluck, hit, and note work together to craft each song into a the likes of a score and not something to be listened to in haste. You won’t find anything superfluous on any of these songs. Every song is a beautiful culmination of each instruments’ intricacies – one of my favorite things about this record.
There are so many parts to this record, and each of them was done a deserved justice. When the record opens with “Catalina Blue” it’s incredibly and immediately evident of who the band takes influence, but throughout the whole album it never feel of a copy. Instead, it feels like a salute that capitalizes on the pieces that make those bands unique and hones it into what makes up the band that is Body Thief. From a production standpoint, recording with Paul Leavitt was an incredibly smart decision. Leavitt really captured this band’s natural talent – something I really adore about his production. With a band like Body Thief, every instrument needs to be given attention and where I find a lot of band’s are failing in terms of interesting vocal melodies, Body Thief is excelling.
Songs like the extremely accessible “Parasites in the Water” and the eerily beautiful ”Orphan Organism" utilize Dani Hawkins’ vocals as the instrument that the voice is by perfectly weaving it into the melodies crafted by the rest of the instruments. All of these factors culminate on the record’s magnum opus, “Wishing Tree" – a seven minute epic that keeps me coming back each listen. Every member is at their best on this song and from the way the whole track plays out, it’s criminal that this isn’t the album closer.
I love so many things about this record that I’m struggling to find anything innately bad about this record. Every song feels necessary, but the record is truly a heavy listen. There are a lot of drawn out crescendos that are executed flawlessly, however, by the end of the record I felt like I had just ran an audible marathon. Though there are other songs with catchy moments, there isn’t really another song that matches “Parasites in the Water’s” infectious catchiness. I found my ears exhausted by the sonics at the end of the record, but I was entirely glad that I endured the whole thing. I come back and listen to my favorite tracks pretty often, but I don’t listen to the whole record in full as much as I wish I would have. The listening experience could probably be improved by some re-sequencing the songs or shortened song lengths. For instance, ending Speak with “Luna” left me with an odd sensation as the track feels like more of an interlude than ending an album that has such emotion and complexity. With that said, I feel like I can’t fault this band for these nit-picked issues since the Body Thief is debuting themselves with this full length, which is a ballsy move that deserves credit on its own.
It’s certain that this band is extremely talented and each song is worth a listen for that reason alone. Each track is meticulous in expression and execution and pouring with emotion. Body Thief are well on their way to making a name for themselves. Hopefully, as the band continues they can expand on their heavier roots and hone some sort of brevity, which I’m positive will come as this band grows. For now, we have a fantastic stepping stone for the band to put their feet out on and begin their trajectory in the scene. 4/5