The Body, Rampant - Beast EP / Framework EP (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Body, Rampant

Beast EP / Framework EP (2009)


The Body, Rampant is seemingly the solo project of one J.M. Lopez, who plays just about everything on this pair of EPs released in the second half of 2009.

The first, Beast, is a four-song slab issued in August. Sounding like a watered-down Circa Survive with less guitar tracks and perhaps some more melodic Come Now Sleep-era As Cities Burn influence mixed in, it's a little problematic. Opener "O Most Definitely Samoans Are the Strongest" gets off to a building start, with momentum dulled by the messy overlaying of instruments and a lack of real bite or strain to Lopez's voice. His piano playing plays a heavier hand to other tracks, like "Static Hands," although the use here sounds like Styx's "Come Sail Away" spun questionably through an adult contemporary/modern piano pop filter. And it just isn't really all that enjoyable or interesting, save the more sauntering quality of Lopez's voice in closer "Empty Season."

Framework, a three-song teaser released just three months after Beast, is the far superior work. It probably helps that Casey Bates produced it--dude's worked some verifiable crap, sure, but he's also helped bring out the best in progressively melodic bands like Gatsbys American Dream and Portugal. The Man. He seems to do the same for the Body, Rampant in Framework. While this EP leans a little closer to that aforementioned As Cities Burn style, the sound is incredibly fuller and a little bit heavier, and Lopez's voice is much, much more assured. You can hear his developed character well in opener "Midwest Mistrust" as he scales a fair range of emotional quality, and the wanky guitar riffs here are compact and more alluring, fitting to the song's dynamics. "Simply Don't Argue" hinges a little more towards nü-emo clichés, but it's not bad in a Saosin-circa-self-titled sense. Also, there's no piano on this EP at all and it seems the Body, Rampant is better off without it.

The Body, Rampant split the difference with this pair of EPs. While a newer electronic single seems like a semi-interesting sidestep for him, let's hope it's a temporary divergence and that Lopez builds off what he's got going on on Framework.

Beast EP: [2/5]
Framework EP: [3/5]

Beast EP
Framework EP