[sic] Magazine

Meatbodies – Alice

“Who the fuck is Alice?” once demanded Smokie by way of Roy “Chubby” Brown. They had a point. Thanks, however, to Chad Ubovich and his band of LA-based garage-rockers, the secret’s now finally out. It transpires, you see, that “Alice is no religion, but may be seen as one … no person, no god. Alice is an idea, a feeling, covered in pink lace. Alice is a message, a hidden commentary of modern day, bathed in fantasy, abounding in ecstasy, feeling colors.” It’s a notion a little more eloquent that Chubby, perhaps, but how far do Ubovich’s Meatbodies (Patrick Nolan and Kevin Boog) take the idea?

Well, technically, Alice is a concept album covering “fear, sexuality, war, religion, technology, peace, philosophy, hedonism, sociology, evolution, and ecclesiasticism”. The chances, though, are that you won’t notice, for each time they try to unravel Alice the enigma, she throws down a ridiculously proportioned slab of heavy fuzz-rock as a smokescreen. It just so happens, however, that Ubovich is at his best when letting rip with face-melting wah, unremarkable forays into lightweight psychedelia falling as flat as they did in 2014 on the S/T Meatbodies debut. It may not be not clever to bang on the distortion pedals at every opportunity, but speaker-shaking sludge simply does Ubovich the world of good. Not just him of course. Alice, like its predecessor, is an album that very much hails from the Ty Segall-school of scuzz and chunky riffs. “Haunted History”, for example, lays the fuzz on so thick it could be used as some coruscating power tool, weird effects ensuring sufficient subdivision from his mentor as to avoid a lawsuit. The stand-out “Disciples”, too, chokes out old-school hard-rock in the same vein, this time with a quivery dose of Sabbath psych to boot. Jams, too, are given equal pegging to strict song-craft, many tracks featuring a sweet solo or a freaky wig-out during their latter parts. Problems hence only come in between the many pillars of chug-fuzz.

Like Segall, Ubovich leans too heavily on The Beatles and specifically, here, on their poppiest melodies. A twelve-string space-rock opera in the form of “Kings” is out of place. The cosmic “Touchless” alternates between middling McCartney worship and weighty, almost doomed awesomeness. The radio-friendly lead single makes, in turn, too much of its shiny 70s choruses as well. Alice eventually closes out with “Fools Fold Their Hands (Grievous Evils Under The Sun)” in which Ubovich, perhaps unsurprisingly given the track’s title, casts himself as some quasi-mystical shaman, ultimately slaying all before him with righteous guitar noise. That it takes until the closing statement for a shred of the original concept to resurface damages really only Ubovich’s realisation of his vision, much of it little more than meta data when push comes to shove. Alice may well saunter off in the night mystique intact as a result, but in doing so she leaves impression enough to want a second date all the same.

Best track: “Disciples”

~Alice is released January 27th 2017 via In The Red.~