If the Dirty Projectors had cousins out West, they’d be the band Body Parts. You’ll hear the resemblance right away in the dissonant Afro-guitar licks and jumpy, sprightly vocals. But while this band may have its father’s eyes, Body Parts is a unique progeny. The group’s On Purpose EP is pop deconstruction in Projectors fashion but with a couple of one-off duets that are sparing in their composition but rich in their delivery. And unlike the Projectors you won’t feel lost if you haven’t got a music degree, as these off-beat rhythms and elaborate pop experimentation have easier points of access.
In 2009 Ryder Bach had a lot of projects in mind. Growing up in San Jose, CA, his first brush with music came in the form of the musical. Bach, who earns his bread by day as an actor, got his first taste of music in that grand realm, but he still came to cut tracks in his spare time on GarageBand like the rest of us. The band is for its members not an all-consuming obsession. Bach has his acting; his cousin, percussionist and vocalist Sebastian Bach, has his own side project as does Alina Cutrono, the band’s guitarist and vocalist; drummer Marie Ishikawa and bassist Ray Proudfoot have been musical nomads for a while.
Despite having other stuff going on, the band has put a lot of work into its EP, and it shows. The process was something akin to designing the first rocket: developed on the drawing board, blown up, then brought back for tweaks. “We went through many different versions and ended up on the ones that we recorded,” explains Ryder. “Certain songs went through four or five complete overhauls.”
The hard work payed off and resulted in a tightly wound seven-track EP. The cascading vocal harmonies on tracks like “Doing Things” and “Conditional Love” create the illusion of a whole choir behind the tracks. The bounce and rapid-fire pop power of “Words” and “Complicated” cast hooks by the handful. A lot of ground gets covered as Body Parts can lock into an Afro-pop groove and switch completely to the Roy Orbison balladry of “Complicated.” In between there’s plenty of interesting percussion—cowbells and rim tick-ticking—to enjoy.
The band embarks on a tour next March and will be attending SXSW for the first time. Body Parts will also be cutting new tracks for a project Ryder is calling “Fire Dream.” It would seem the purely off-the-clock project of Body Parts is taking up more and more of the frontman’s time, which for us is a very good thing.
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