ALBUM REVIEW: Heavenly Rhythms for the Uninitiated by True Body

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WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras

True Body’s debut record Heavenly Rhythms for the Uninitiated marks the 2nd release of the year for Funeral Party Records. True Body is a post punk and new wave band with goth-like influence from Richmond, Virginia who have spent the majority of their time as an active band releasing a couple of singles and EPs. They have been active since 2015 and up until now this would mark the first time they have released such an effort and the time has paid off. The record is ten tracks of really deep and powerful songs that sounds like such an original experience. Isabella Moreno-Riaño’s vocals are haunting and also beautiful as the words echo out in an opera like resonance. This has turned into a fine release for the band and Funeral Party Records.

The first track and single is “Spirit City.” The song is a combination of different types of genres and is upbeat, and really addictive. “Holy Child” with its haunting synth opening and really dark instrumentation is a bleak and intense look at the band as they begin to bring up the volume. This song is a change of pace and mood since the previous, and has a real Joy Division like feel that True Body is able to make their own. The whirling guitars ringing out and Isabella’s vocals combine nicely for a track that is wild and anarchic sounding. “Chain” moves towards a more mellow sound that’s on pace with the opening track. The mood would mostly be described as somber, with some really heartfelt like instrumentation and vocal delivery.

“First Thing” begins similarly only this time with a keyboard that showcases the vocal work, but eventually becomes a twinkly piece of dream pop. The combination of the synth and vocals will send the listen into a trance as the song is both angelic and incredibly atmospheric especially towards the end of the track as the vocals echo out and the rest of the band joins in to add to what is a beautiful track. “Glitter” relies heavily on ambience, and overall mood to carry the conclusion to the A side. It’s deep, and the instrumentation is pleasant to listen to. It is upbeat and sounds like a classic piece of 80s post punk with darkwave/goth influence. The vocal range on this track is breathtaking, the way that they are able to blend so effortlessly with the band. It’s truly a magical experience. 

“Sympathy” uses a synth line as an opener to the type of intense and claustrophobic instrumentation that will follow. “Youth Hotel” opens up with ambient noises that call to mind a dark and foggy cemetery in a horror film. The synths are loud and pulsate throughout the track, and the band comes in as a kind of dark wave track. The synths dominate the mix and are loud and abrasive, almost industrial sounding as the vocals reverb out. “Television” uses a sweeter sounding synth sound and the style of the track is more in tone of the opening track. Its romantic, sincere, and also draws from a bit of nostalgia to create a really pleasant dream pop inspired song.

“Ariel” follows the tone and instrumentation of “Television” to create a really atmospheric dream pop track that’s heavy on ambience and feeling. This track plays really nice off the previous as the album is beginning to reach its conclusion. “Phone Off” serves as the final track and its use of simple instrumentation is the perfect way to finish off the record. It opens up with nothing but vocals and a synth that really adds a haunting element to the track. About midway through the song the synths just kind of ring out for a moment or two and the slow-paced song continues to drone on. As the final lyrics “drifting away” are lowly sung, all other noises slowly and peacefully ring out and the album concludes.

This is an incredible debut album for True Body, and also another solid release for Funeral Party Record. The haunting vocals by Isabella Moreno-Riaño are iconic and help set the band aside from others within the genre. One of the most significant aspects of the record are its production and use of instrumentation. The band played off of the vocals and added synth elements and other instrumentals that created a really haunting and ethereal sounding experience. Track after track the listener is brought into a dreamworld and once the record is concluded that world has been totally imagined.

For Fans of: Death Bells, Fearing, Chain of Flowers

Track listing:

Side A

  1. Spirit City
  2. Holy Child
  3. Chain
  4. First Thing
  5. Glitter

Side B:

  1. Sympathy
  2. Youth Hotel
  3. Television
  4. Ariel
  5. Phone Off

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