Album Review – Alex Body: Cutting Down Camelot

Alex Body
Cutting Down Camelot

Since emerging in January 2010, from Twelve Canons’ indefinite hiatus with a self-released CD-r called Just Say Yes, Alex Body has quickly carved out a new shiny identity for himself. His sixth release in under 18 months, Cutting Down Camelot, finds Body heir-apparent to Iowa City’s lo-fi pop throne—watch your back Samuel Locke Ward.

Camelot is not proposing a seismic shift for Body, but a continued exploration of his spaced-out, glitchy, psychedelic, electronic folk. Once the hurdle of opening cut, “Punishment and Separation” is cleared, Body puts together one of the finest four-song streaks you’re liable to hear all year. It kicks off with the tribal pulses and sexy, pseudo-P-Funk bass line of “Easy Money.” Before “I’m Not So Sure I’m Glad I Waited” comes to a cacophonic close, Body gets in the sunny-sounding earworm “Goner” and the dark plod of “The Savior is the Culprit.”

This set finds Body’s using his overdubbed vocals to greater effect. The tight choruses and harmonies in “Easy Money” and “Goner” give the almost confectionery nature of those two songs even more sweetness, where “The Savior is the Culprit” and “I’m Not So Sure I’m Glad I Waited” gain more uncertainty and eventually spiral into total entropy on the discordant vocal layers.

But the real revelation on Camelot is the sixth cut, “That Can Change.” The playful sixth song could just as likely be the next indie-pop hit as soundtrack playtime at a daycare. Body’s coos dance atop a beatbox-led shuffle, with light plucks from guitar, and a Tinker Bell tiptoed synth line; it’s easily one of his most accomplished compositions. “Change” is dense, even a bit overstuffed, but it’s never too busy; all the kitchen sink effects which enter the mix as the song expands in the closing minutes, play off one another perfectly. It’s a blissful din.