Forgive me if it's taking me a little while," offers Floating Action mastermind Seth Kauffman, almost by way of apology, during "Taking Me A Little While." The tune opens Body Questions, the latest from Kauffman's Black Mountain outfit. Floating Action is one of the state's best, more mysterious bands. The group rarely tours or plays shows—the Triangle's lucky if they get a single gig within a calendar year—but its studio output is consistently excellent. As for the mystery, it's a constant wonder why the band's distant pop buoys have yet to reach a bigger crowd. 2012's Fake Blood arrived on the label of My Morning Jacket's Jim James; Body Questions lands through alt-country vanguard New West. It is the latest of the band's LPs to swoop in under the radar, another solid record of appropriately embellished rock tunes.
Body Questions is comparatively crisp, given Floating Action's catalog. The record swirls and spaces out in all the right places, but precisely so, giving Body Questions a sharper focus and immaculate edges, though it stops just short of being overproduced. That much is clear during "House of Secrets," which begins with prickly guitar but stays upbeat and even-keeled, with no nonsense. Similarly, "Earth-Shackles" is an understated tune with an inviting rhythm section.
Floating Action stretches out with "Long Dark Shadow" and "Call Out." Small refrains of whoa's add to the spooky air of "Long Dark Shadow," while "Call Out" rolls along easily, its hiccupping drum patterns breaking occasional reverie. The tune is the record's dreamiest, with fluid guitar slipping between lines about rising in the mist of a canopy and moving like a manta ray.
After a dozen tracks, Body Questions closes gracefully with "Fang and Furr," three-and-a-half moseying minutes that dip a toe in reggae. It's loose but steady, leaving an open ending to Body Questions—aside, of course, from why this band still languishes in mountainside obscurity.
Label: New West Records
This article appeared in print with the headline "On hardcore pranksters, hip-hop revivals and more."