I think one can get a much better grasp on the band’s music by seeing the songs as long, somewhat-complex pop songs--ones derived from much different circumstances than The Decemberists’ boring narratives--rather than grand, theatrical gospels
While Bodies of Water are always noted for their vocal prowess, those guitar parts, like the fuzzy garage-rock figure that drives 'Under the Pines' alongside a psychedelic organ vamp, showcase a newfound muscularity to David's playing and riff writing.
It’s refreshing to hear such heavyweight harmonies being shipped out by a modern act, especially when relatively crunchy guitars and urgent drums act as the styrofoam packing peanuts, ensuring things never get too messy or convoluted.
Beneath such a surface, a band needs to keep screwing with the formula to hold interest. Bodies Of Water gets around to that often enough on its second album, A Certain Feeling, but lets the clever bits sit naked for too long.