reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
I was once told, as a prompt more than a rule, that art should include at least some nod, some tilt towards love, sex, death, or money. From then on, I would often find one of these themes in my writing and dive into it. June Body go beyond, not choosing one big theme, but interweaving patterns of love and death, anxiety and romance into every song so that there is a juxtapositional complexity. On their aptly titled album, Life From Underneath, there is no shortage of bravery in getting to the heavy stuff.
This Halifax trio creates emo-tinged pop-rock that brings popular jangly guitars together with washes of emotion and an honest, if somewhat dark, approach to life and love. “I’m clearly obsessed with my demise,” Connor James sings in “River Never Runs Dry”, and we can feel this. “Love then Die” and “Dead Eyes are No Prize” also tie love with death. The former by watching a loved one tear themselves apart, and the latter with metaphors that evoke the winding nature of depression. The lyrical highlight of the album comes with the wisdom of “Love then Die”: “If you’re down on your luck, remember your eyes never change their size. You’re seeing the world through the same lens as when you were a child. Things just got heavy.”
The alarm-like guitar ring on “Living Inside” permeates the grungier feeling of the track (a tonal shift) and drives a sense of anxiety. The lyrics dip into the biblical and break away from the pop beginnings of the album. The optimistic and fleeting guitars that glide around the kicky vocals on “Plan For Us” become a memory. Every element has its moment to shine, with the prominent bass in “River Never Runs Dry” plucking the track into movement and the clear vocals on “How the Story Starts” — wonderfully closing the album with the ironic title — bringing crisp meaning and a touch of 2000’s alt-rock nostalgia.
June Body bring a mix of modern indie rock sounds and a nostalgia for the emotional alt-rock that was once so prevalent and tie it together by talking about the big matters in life. Unafraid of talking about pain, anxiety, and being in love, this is an album that is infinitely relatable.
Top Tracks: “Plan For Us”; “Living Inside”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)