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Body Rockers

Body Rockers

(Mercury; US: 30 Aug 2005; UK: 9 May 2005)

Let’s face it, it’s a horrible band name isn’t it? The Body Rockers. Whenever I hear the name the first mental image is Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” video with all the loud unitards, spandex, and obligatory perspiration. The Body Rockers, like the singer, is an Aussie/British combo of Australian house DJ Kaz James and singer Dylan Burns. And for this record, they decide that eclectic-ity is the key to being successful.


However, when you hear a song that begins with a classical moment and then turns into something that only Primal Scream might be marginally successful with, you are already starting to stifle the laughter. “Handel On Your Face” is that song in a nutshell. Burns’ sneering way of delivering the lyrics is backed up with an, at best, adequate backbeat. A funky bass line tries to play itself off the classical accents, but it’s just something that doesn’t grab your attention. At least—it shouldn’t. Even using a sample of the Velvet Underground’s “The Gift” still doesn’t right this sinking ship.


Fortunately, “I Like The Way” is a tad better effort with a decent arrangement that, sans guitar, falls into the path that Blur’s “Song 2” did all those years ago. However, even with this style, they find a way to totally screw up this song, too. Burns talks his way through the tune as if he’s talking up the ladies, but what he really sounds like is a guy trying to imitate Isaac Hayes while on ecstasy. The guitars’ slow build give way to a dance beat that improves the track despite lacking any real tangible substance. It makes get you moving, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.


“I Wanna Live” is another small but steady improvement with the guitars perfectly complementing and at times driving the song along. Of course it might be too similar in lyrical terms of Good Charlotte’s “I Just Wanna Live” with more meaty riffs in it. It’s also the first time that Burns shows any kind of soul in his voice, coming off at times like a cross between the new INXS singer and the late INXS singer.


A tune like “You Got Me Singing”, however, is so formulaic and clichéd that one really asks the question why they even bothered. “The hardest gig in the world is to be a musician’s girl” James sings when not singing “do do do do do do do do…”, as if this gives the song more weight, somehow.


By the fifth track, Body Rockers have managed to fall upon something that sounds relevant and works quite nicely. Tight and polished despite the studio produced chorus, the tune, entitled “Round And Round”, takes a great rhythm and works with a simple dance beat and driving guitar riff a la ZZ Top that winds itself around the song perfectly. And finally, James doesn’t go over the top to get his lyrics across, downplaying instead with a far better result.


“Dirty” falls into the same sort of style yet doesn’t come off as powerful or quite as pleasing. But the funky groove dominating the synth-tinged “For One Night Only” makes for an interesting and enticing little number. That is until James opens his trap and basically flushes the song down the toilet, introducing the band Body Rockers. As if we didn’t know.


To add insult to injury, Body Rockers tries to take AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” somewhat for its own during the opening of “Keep Your Boots On”. After bastardizing that, “New York City Girl”, with its electro-clash style, is surprisingly decent with James not going over the top. And there is a punishing, industrial-lite “Dignity” that will attract some listeners but sounds so eerily like Reznor and company that it’s quite amazing. On the whole, the album does have its moments despite the tracks that make you want to take a shower after listening to them.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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