Meatbodies: Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom [Album Review]

Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom
In The Red Records [2024]

The Fire Note headphone approved

Album Overview: Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom is Meatbodies’ latest album, marking a significant progression from their previous works. The record serves as a testament to frontman Chad Ubovich’s tumultuous yet transformative personal odyssey over the last several years, encapsulating themes of redemption, reinvention, and the human condition. It’s a melodic, hook-filled psych rock epic that explores deep emotions with big monstrous numbers, as the record is almost an hour long. At many times, Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom has a nostalgic flashback to the alternative rock heyday while mixing in undertones of psychedelic haze, stoner rock, and shoegaze waves. It is a complete record with styles and transitions that separate itself from the more experimental songs of 2021’s 333 and the harder rock edges of Alice (2017) plus Ubovich’s work with Ty Segall that includes FUZZ. It is a bold and intense record that taps into all eras with its timeless, mind-bending flow.

Musical Style: The album showcases a diverse but focused musical style that incorporates elements of alternative rock, shoegaze, classic alternative, Britrock, drone, and even some small hints of country. It combines the bombastic energy of early Smashing Pumpkins alt-rock brilliance with a psychedelic swirl reminiscent of contemporaries like The Black Angels and Dead Meadow, creating a new and unique sonic landscape for the band.

Evolution of Sound: Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom represents a new page in the book for Meatbodies’ sound. While retaining elements of their earlier work, the album ventures into more spacious musical territories, experimenting with different genres and musical approaches. It highlights Ubovich’s newfound direction in life as he is at the top of his game, while the band has grown with him both musically and lyrically, offering a more mature and introspective perspective.

Artists with Similar Fire: The album draws inspiration from a wide range of artists, including Pink Floyd, Smashing Pumpkins, Roky Erickson, Jane’s Addiction, Ty Segall, Osees, and Spacemen 3. While each influence may seem disparate, Meatbodies crafts a cohesive sound that blends these diverse elements into a “I want to hear more” type of musical experience.

Pivotal Tracks: I really loved the bold opener, “The Assignment.” It is over 6 minutes of a slow roaster that builds this rocking tidal wave of sound, coming at you like a desert storm you can see miles away but can’t escape. “Hole” has a killer Smashing Pumpkins-like introduction that also blends alternative rock sweetness with pop sensibilities and psychedelic undertones. The horns going off in “ICNNVR2” have a Sunwatchers vibe to them that is fantastic, while the over 7-minute “Move” sounds like it has Osees’ John Dwyer sitting on Meatbodies’ shoulders with its excellent isolation of instruments as the song just jams.

Lyrical Strength: The album’s lyrics delve into themes of personal struggle, redemption, and reinvention, reflecting frontman Chad Ubovich’s journey through sobriety, loss, and self-discovery. They offer a glimpse into Ubovich’s inner world and enhance this record, as you feel its purpose and the saving power through music, as Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom comes to its fiery conclusion of guitar and drums when the closer “Gate” ends!

333 (2021) / Alice (2017) / Meatbodies (2014)

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Thomas Wilde

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