In the beginning, David Metcalf and his wife Meredith would record their organic creations on a computer in their home. After a while, they recruited friends to add flesh to them.
“We wanted to re-create them in real time,” Metcalf says. “For a while it was pretty casual. We would just kinda meet up and mess around. It was a while before we began work on making actual music.”
Over time their sonic meanderings congealed into a sweaty goulash of heady, harmonized indie pop. Credit goes to a relaxed approach and can’t-miss influences like the toward-heaven high of the Swan Silvertones.It’s more than Bodies of Water’s danceability that connects them to their audience. It’s also their symphony of male and female voices, something they started doing “when we realized everybody was able to sing and wanted to,” Metcalf says. “The first batch of songs we worked on didn’t really have a lot of that. Once we figured out what everyone was able to do, I started writing songs that incorporated that.”
It’s a central part of their second CD, A Certain Feeling, the band’s first release since signing to Bloomington-based Secretly Canadian. The collection also marks a more cohesive effort from the group. Bodies of Water’s debut, Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink, was written almost entirely by Metcalf.
“The songs on the new record have some more parts that were arrived at as a group by chance,” he says.
That collaborative environment now extends well beyond the confines of the quartet. Guest musicians on A Certain Feeling include another drummer and guitarist, and a trumpet player and two trombonists.
“[The extended band] all came about from people wanting to chip in one way or another,” Metcalf says. Drummer Noah Smith ended up jamming with the band only because he left his drum set on stage following an opening set. It’s those accidental encounters and indiscriminate approach that shapes the work of Bodies of Water.
“I’ve never really had an agenda,” Metcalf says. “We decided we liked what we were doing, and facilitated it to where we could work on it more — not merely splitting time between this and a day job. We’re not at that point yet, but hopefully we will be soon.”