Safe to say that if Alice had been Meatbodies' debut album (reviewed back in 2014 here) the level of anticipation here for giving it a listen would have been nowhere near as high as it was.
Apparently it's a concept album. Nowt wrong with that. Where I've found myself struggling is with the band's loss of pace.
Meatbodies has an equally slow opening track/instrumental but thereafter it has you by the throat and never lets up. Alice, in a contrary fashion, never really gets itself worked up to anything more than mid-paced.
It's pleasant enough for all that but nothing that's going to make you sit up and pay attention. Opening track 'The Burning Fields' is doom metal slow riffage followed by a bit of drum machine & then some tribal drumming. Repeated listens don't reveal any further depths to it.
From 'Kings' onwards it's as if Ty Segall had decided to channel Rush on one of his albums, rather than Marc Bolan as per usual. Whilst acknowledgement of his influence was minimal on Meatbodies on Alice it's centre stage.
Unfortunately if it was a Segall album it would be viewed as one he'd phoned in. The title track ends up being too long but with songs such as 'Creature Feature', 'Haunted History' and 'Touchless' there is perfectly listenable material on offer here. It just lacks the punch and early promise of three years ago, with only 'Scavenger' coming close to replicating that (whilst also calling Frank Zappa to mind).
Live the songs may take on lives if their own & they'll certainly serve to give the band a break from the energetic playing required to bring forth their earlier output. Newcomers should though swiftly check out album number one to experience the band at their best.