Naked Bodies is a newly formed Melbourne quartet re-inventing the concept of experimental rock and roll in the 21st century. Fronted by former Little Red member, Quang Dinh, the band prides itself on delivering an almost schizophrenic mode of rock and roll, incorporating heavy guitar riffs and pulsating drum beats with its raw production. Their début, Pirahna, is due to be released April 1, 2015 and echoes the forefathers of rock in what can be described as their way of tribute. However, the album’s unpolished production and unstable sound proves that despite Naked Bodies being established on Melbourne’s music scene, they are still yet to settle on a rigid sound.
Listening to the album for its entire duration can only be described as a warped time travel tour through the years of rock and roll. Piranha’s opening track, “Ugly Morning” showcases the almost unstable nature of their sound. Opening with a folk inspired guitar beat, the piece ultimately transitions into a progressive rock piece that even Muse would be envious of. The transient nature of their sound also changes as their album continues. Lead track “Ride On” features thumping 60s beats and screeching guitars. It’s arguably the most danceable track on the album with its poppy nature. Naked Bodies continues to play the imitation game with this song, with a heavy Strokes influence apparent throughout.
Many of the songs on the album act as tributes to rock heavyweights of yesteryear. Artists such as Nick Cave, The Eagles, The Beach Boys, and The Police are all reminiscent within the album’s tracklist. Though Piranha may present itself as a quasi-tribute album, Naked Bodies’ craftsmanship as musicians relies on the bombastic. Screeching electric guitar riffs feature on every song. Dinh’s vocals are delivered in an almost cowboy like swagger, emphasising an idea of a tortured musician. Drum beats are intense, reaching a deafening crescendo as each song finishes.
As the album progresses, Piranha ventures into the ridiculous. The album’s fifth track “Armour of Gold” is the cornerstone of outrageousness on the album. The whimsical melodies coupled with basic lyricism act as a focus for Dinh’s ragged baritone. However, the song itself is cluttered, and as a result tends to be too overwhelming for the listener.
This theme continues in the twilight stages of the album. As Piranha transforms itself into something of nostalgia, circus sounds are implemented to add to its new sound. “Moonlight Love Song (For The Folks)” and the extremely audacious “Circus Song” are miles away sonically from the opening tracks of the album. The production in the latter stages of the album is loses its polish when compared to its opening tracks. The layered guitars clash heavily with the whimsical circus noises and violins, as well as Dinh’s vocals.
The lack of cohesion in both production and sound give the listener the idea that while Naked Bodies are intent on branding themselves as a rock band, their niche in said music scene has not been discovered yet. As a result, Piranha is an album of exploration. It is an adventure for the listener, in any sense of the word. However, the lack of polish and direction in Piranha detracts from Naked Bodies’ potential as viable members of the rock music scene.
Naked Bodies will be playing at MSA’s Hump Day on Wednesday 11th March, Catch them live there