Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet


Body Questions


Whoa. This is one of those instances when you put on a record by an artist you've never heard and instantaneously feel a wave of regret wash over you as the music courses through your headphones. To clarify: not the kind of regret that begs the question, "Why am I wasting my time listening to this?" The kind that goes, "Why the hell haven't I heard this before?"

Floating Action is the brainchild of red-bearded Seth Kauffman of Black Mountain, North Carolina, a place where geniuses (genii?) such as Albert Einstein, John Cage, and Buckminster Fuller flocked to live, work, and study at Black Mountain College. The community there has been described as a "crazy and magical place, and the electricity of all the people seemed to make for a wonderfully charged atmosphere, so that one woke up in the mornings excited and a little anxious, as though a thunderstorm were sweeping in."

A good way to put it, really. Although Body Questions--the 7th release under the Floating Action moniker and the first release with New West Records--is more sunshine than rainstorm, it has its brooding moments, too. Kauffman writes and records all the tracks by himself: the vox, guitars, bass, and percussion a common thread between the music of Body Questions, although their contexts shift throughout. As a record, it is a songwriter's exploration of pop songs and their potential applications; apologetic, contemplative, nonplussed, deeply invested, candid, calculated--Kauffman is all over the place, sometimes hitting two or three of these moods within the course of one track.

It's difficult to choose a favorite here, but there are certainly some notably glowing moments. The first three tracks, "Taking Me a Little While," "Unrevenged," and "No Surprise There" all have catchy grooves and razor-sharp arrangements that are radio ready. "Earth-Shackles" has some vaguely pan-African drum patterns, the momentum of "Don't Wake Me" is carried along by some lovely, gentle fingerpicking, and "Hide Away Too Long" features a great riff in the verses and bridges and some undeniably contagious background "ooh las" in the chorus. Near the end of the record, tracks 9 through 11 are more subtle slow-burners, but are still effective and nice listens. Body Questions closes with "Fang & Furr," a chilled out, sunny ska-influenced head-bobber that miraculously manages to not be corny.

In short, I like this record. I think you will too.

Phun Phacts: Kauffman's breadth of talents have been recognized by quite a few visionaries, leading to collaborations with Jim James, Dan Auerbach, and Dr. Dog. He was also recently asked onstage by Jenny Lewis to play violin with her.

Recommended Tracks: #1 "Taking Me a Little While", #2 "Unrevenged", #5 "Earth-Shackles", #7 "Hide Away Too Long"

Sig Steiger 

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.