Review: Music Go Music at the ICA

Wait, what? What is this? What’s going on? Cue complete darkness (in the already dark black hole-esque ICA) and the band shuffling onto the stage. On the left is a giant hour glass and on the right is a giant face mask. “It’s like being in Phantom of the Opera!” Meredith remarks as the lights go up. Yes, yes it is, if Phantom of the Opera was scored with completely INSANE pop music.

Music Go Music are a fascinating band. A spin off of LA band Bodies of Water, featuring the main man and leading lady- David and Meredith Metcalf, Music Go Music are like their parent band but poppier, synthier, funkier, and more over the top. The first time I listened to Music Go Music was some time around Christmas when I was super in love with Bodies of Water. I disregarded the songs thinking ‘what the hell is this?’. I didn’t listen again until much later when I became enlightened and realised it was completely brilliant. The band released two EPs last year which were widely missed, with more focus being on Bodies of Water’s second album, A Certain Feeling, also released last year.

The two bands are very different but, at the same time, not too dissimilar. They both share a real sense of epic-ness. You can still hear glimmers of Bodies of Water in Music Go Music, and when listening to Music Go Music you can hear glimmers of Bodies of Water. Particularly in Bodies of Water tracks like Here Comes My Hand from the brilliant Ears Will Pop, or the end of Only You from A Certain Feeling. It’s like a more reserved Music Go Music. Light of Love‘s verses sounds like a Bodies of Water-esque. Bodies of Water were (/are?) a fantastic band with some wonderfully uplifting songs, subscribing to a unique style of gospel-esque pop music. Music Go Music has Meredith taking the centre stage and letting loose. No subtlety at all. Funkier guitar effects transform the solos, synths and backing vocals makes everything seem lighter and more danceable.

So the band have put together their two EPs, added a few new songs, wrapped it all together and are releasing it as an album titled Expressions, via Secretly Canadian. Still a relatively new live band, it’s remarkable how polished and absolutely spot on they sound. They play as a seven-piece; with David on the keys and synths, Meredith singing, a couple of percussionists/guitarist/backing vocalists, a bassist, a drummer and a guitarist.

They opened the show with album opener I Walk Alone. The song features Meredith doing some epic wailing and shreiking. Listening to the album you wonder if she’s going to be able to sing THAT high. Her voice just rises and escalates and, yes, she can go THAT high. It was astounding. So incredible, I couldn’t help but grin hugely. Visually, the band all looked sharp. Meredith had a beautiful dress with some sweet wizard hands creeping up from the bottom, with giant button cufflinks. Somebody yelled that they wanted to see her shoes (she was jumping about barefoot through most of the show). “You want to see my shoes??” she scooped them up, a pair of flip flops. “I’m down to earth!”. It’s true. You can’t help but feel endeared to the band. The whole band were so into music and Meredith was clearly having a wonderful time. She is an amazing front woman, putting everything into her performance. She spent almost entirely the whole show with her arms outstretched, dancing and jumping. It was a complete joy to watch. The band played all nine songs from the album, including the nine minute spectacular that is Warm In The Shadows.

If you can pull this all off, why not? It could all be incredibly cheesy and embarassing, but Music Go Music do it so well. Brilliant recorded songs, and a brilliant live band.

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