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Album Review

Catchy, bouncy, and just downright fun to listen to, but at the same time abrasive, jarring, and frequently toeing the line of obnoxiousness, Need New Body is nothing if not unpredictable. They exist in an as yet unnamed category almost all their own: some sort of spazz-folk created with banjos, eight-bit video game consoles, junkyard percussion, absurd ranting, and campfire chanting. UFO, their second album, is much like their first in that you can expect the unexpected at each turn. The spontaneity keeps you listening just to hear what they'll try next. And even when they flop, you can't help but admire the sheer enthusiasm poured into even the most obviously tossed-off, half-baked experiments. One of these half-baked experiments comes right at the beginning of UFO. As if to weed out the weak and unadventurous, "Gigglebush Meets CompUSA" starts with an off-balance beat like a hippo trying to walk a balance beam, then disintegrates into the grating death rattle of some insectoid robot sent from the near future. Few bands would be so brave (some might say foolish) as to try this sort of thing. "Hotshot" continues with a fist-pumping chant-along that shows off drummer Chris Powell and his fast-becoming-signature new wave meets Krautrock 4/4 beat. "Moondear" is maybe the most unlikely thing Need New Body could do at this point, an (almost) straight-faced acoustic ballad. But with "Popfest" they settle into what they do best: that unavoidably catchy and bouncy beat shows up again with industrial noise drilling and hammering away in spasms while the group-sung mantra "Meets, hits it off, hangs out, makes friends, and is never seen again" is repeated just shy of ad nauseam. DigDug meets self-mutilation on "Show Me Your Heart," and syncopated human beatboxes duel on "Turken Hogan." Then there's the mock late-night R&B radio show skit "Dr. Spliffin's Food Drive." One could go on and on. Each song offers something new and exciting. And even after the album is thoroughly digested, UFO continues to satisfy through Need New Body's untouchable rhythm section, its sense of humor, and its almost scary level of exuberance. UFO is another must-be-heard-to-be-believed album from this bunch of Philly area weirdos.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Formed from the remnants of Bent Leg Fatima, Need New Body have been called everything from "beardo wierdcore" to "spazzcore," due to its splicing of such disparate styles as noise rock, folk, avant-garde and jazz. Percussionist Chris Powell, keyboardists Dale Jimenez and Jamey Robinson and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bradbury formed Bent Leg Fatima in 1996 and later moved to Philadelphia in 1999 before releasing their debut record. Shortly after, Robinson departed, resulting in the band's...
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UFO, Need New Body
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