[sic] Magazine

Meatbodies – Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom

By frontman and lead guitarist Chad Ubovich’s own admission, 2021’s seven-track 333 record was a stopgap, a lockdown reworking of old demos ahead of this third LP (held back initially due to the pandemic and then due to personal troubles).

Flashback a few years to when Ubovich was in various garage bands with Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin and Charlie Moothart; 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. Half-way to a close encounter with the Beast, the experimental and entertaining 333 was Ubovich refusing to go down without a fight; Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom (“I wanted to make something with more depth,” Ubovich says) is the comeback.

Almost an hour long, Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom broadens its church to embrace early 90s alt-rock, the resultant trippy work-out as varied and serious as Meatbodies have ever been. Lightly psychedelic Beatles melodies duly get carpet bombed by bass muscle, rolling fuzz-hooks rippling like thunder to dancing guitar grooves and free-form sax on “Icnnvr2” to conjure an especially heady funk. Acoustic jangles are treated to trippy delay and liquid, hard-psych soloing on “Silly Cybin” (psilocybin), simmering string drone teeing up slow-burning jams that circle the drain elsewhere.

It remains a fact however that Ubovich is at his best when letting rip and lead single “Hole” consequently subjects the speakers to heavy bombardment, his woozy vocal drifting through searching guitar parts and buzzed-out, shoegaze synths. Another demolition job, “They Came Down” bats his short vocal refrains around the dust-cloud, while marauding speed-metal does the damage below. Loose retro-rocker “Billow” even comes on like prime Jane’s Addiction in its yearning before later blossoming into back-masked psychedelia. Mission accomplished, Meatbodies is back on the menu.

Best track: “Hole”

~Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom is released March 22nd 2024 via In The Red.~

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