“Holy Holy Little Fist” kicks off with the sound of distorted organ, both sexy and menacing, a sound familiar to Afghan Whigs fans. Boy Without God too straddles the line between sacred and profane, but unlike Greg Dulli, Gabriel Birnbaum has a circus barker’s soul. He makes emotionally daring music, but he winks at you in the process. If Your Body Is Your Soul is a con, is it a beauty.
The drunken, Waits-ian shuffle of “Fist” leads quickly into the whimsical title track, its Bundy-meets-the Band burlesque both creepy and intimate. The sheer brilliance, both lyrically and in the mix of distortion and hooks, of “Someone You Could Miss” and “Missiles of Light” have to be experienced, not just listened to. That, I think, is Birnbaum’s success here: getting under your skin with songs that haunt you days later, popping up into your reality like, well, missiles.
Your Body Is Your Soul is sexy, scarred and far beyond sober. Boy Without God’s only restraint is that you can’t swallow the world, or a lover, in one gulp. But this record serves notice that here is an artist who wants to explore it all. Full of raw, transcendent music that does not flinch when facing horror, frailty, or nudity, this record is chasing big fish, and at times, it chases them like some of the best fishermen working today.