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Same Guys, Different Sound: Former Kaddisfly members take a new direction with Water & Bodies 

click to enlarge Mirrors, Water and Bodies.
  • Mirrors, Water and Bodies.
Mirrors, Water and Bodies.
Reinventing one's self is tough. Just ask Michael Vick.

But for a band, it's not always that hard. There're myriad acts that have disappeared for a bit, then returned, sometimes triumphantly, sometimes not, with a new look and sound. Radiohead, of course, did it. And so did Fleetwood Mac back in the day.

For Water & Bodies, the reinvention is a little more complex than simply rolling out a new mission statement. The Portland band, two members of which are Bend natives, is essentially the same lineup as the indie and slightly emo rock band Kaddisfly, who maintained a steady and loyal following for much of the past decade. But after bassist Kile Brewster left the band over the winter, the remaining four members decided to put the Kaddisfly name and sound to bed. And thus was Water & Bodies born.


Drummer Beau Kuther, a Mountain View High School graduate, says that after Brewster's departure, there was a period of uncertainty as to what would happen next.

"It was like, 'Do we keep going with this band we've put so much heart and soul into for all these years or do we start something new and try to start a new chapter in our lives and do something different?'" says Kuther while soaking in some Thursday morning sunshine on the porch of his Portland home.

In the end, after what Kuther describes as "a lot of drunken talks between the four of us," the guys decided to not only start playing under a new name, but also venture into a new sound. The band released the digital version of its new self-titled EP last week and it's pretty damn hard to find any hint of Kaddisfly on the record, which the band tracked live in late February.

The EP is far more spatial than anything in the Kaddisfly discography. Water & Bodies' sound is a tough one to classify, but easy to grasp on to with a sound incorporating influences as varied as jazz and alt-rock. There are big room hints of My Morning Jacket on cuts like "Something I Can Grasp" while other songs feature pinches of drum machine spices - both of which are a sharp departure from any Kaddisfly song. And Kuther and company seem completely fine with that, yet acknowledge that there remains a strong fan base from the pre-Water & Bodies years.

"We were never huge, we were never anything- but we had a very hardcore fan base. We are very grateful for that and we didn't want to let them down," Kuther says of his previous band. "We just wanted Kaddisfly to be what it is and start something completely different that, ya know, other people might enjoy who didn't enjoy Kaddisfly."

Kuther hopes that Water & Bodies finds a home in the Oregon musical landscape, and the show here in Bend on Saturday night with Empty Space Orchestra might be a good start. By the way, there's a connection between Empty Space and Water & Bodies in that bassist Kelsey Kuther, Beau's brother, played guitar in the same Summit High jazz band that included three-fourths of Empty Space's lineup.

While the band clearly has access to an established fan base and knows the touring world well, Kuther says the plan is to take it easy in the immediate future.

"It's starting over," he says, "We're a baby band and we'll grow into what we become."

Empty Space Orchestra, Water & Bodies, We Are Brontosaurus
8pm Saturday, May 30. PoetHouse Art, 55 NW Minnesota Ave (Above the Wine Shop). $6. All ages. Benefit for Rise Up International.

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