[sic] Magazine

Meatbodies – 333

By Chad Ubovich’s own admission, 333 is a stopgap, a lockdown reworking of old demos ahead of a forthcoming album that was held back due to the pandemic. It shouldn’t be written off as inferior in any way though as this is still very much business as usual for the Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin and Charlie Moothart associate, the nature of this seven-track LP’s recording making it perhaps the most interesting in the Meatbodies catalogue to date.

Flashback a few years to when Ubovich was in various garage bands with all the above hyper-prolific artists; it was always inevitable one of them would fall off the rollercoaster and, after eight solid years of touring, it was Ubovich. Burnt out, self-medication was preferred to self-help. Happily, he bounced back from rock bottom and 333 (tellingly half-way to a close encounter with the Beast) is Ubovich’s first bout after refusing to go down without a fight.

A product of its home-worked environment though, 333 is both limited in its materials and experimental in scope. Without a full band to call upon to round out the stems, Ubovich improvised, most notably capturing the clapping beat in jangly psych-folk number “Let Go” by tapping his drumsticks on his pillows. Synapses firing, rudimentary electronics fill in where a rhythm section may have done so in the studio. A toybox of possibilities on his companion laptop, Ubovich digs the deepest he’s ever gone into weirdo FX too.

It remains a fact however that Ubovich is at his best when letting rip with face-melting fuzz and so it is again proven on 333. Guitar lovers will nevertheless revel in the lazy-days strumming and liquid melodies of “The Hero”, the tinnitus crowd rejoice at the shoegaze-level of distortion in fearsome instrumental “Eye Eraser”, and well-travelled garage fans will lap up the trippy “Hybrid Feelings”, its suspect moaning raising an eyebrow even chez Gainsbourg.

Crunchy bass ripper “Cancer” inflicts naturally far more damage, strangled solos and sci-fi synth laying siege to the mixing desk. Equally chunky, sludgy stand-out, “Reach For The Sunn”, is as catchy as it is filthy, its surging synth and leaden drums smeared into a head-banging finale. Standing at the crossroads of recovery, Ubovich darkly intones: “Reach for the stars / Reach for the sun / Reach for the trigger / Reach for the gun.” It’s an apt cliff-hanger on which to leave 333. What will the future hold? No-one – as has repeatedly been proven over the last couple of years – knows, of course.

Best track: “Reach For The Sunn”

~333 is released 24th September 2021 via In The Red.~