Bodega - Shiny New Model
Whether Bodega are following in the footsteps of Arcade Fire and the art-punk community of America or simply creating the sonic palette they wish to paint their masterwork from, ‘Shiny New Model’ provides the blueprints and framework for their sardonic social commentary to evolve into an animal of it’s own.
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Music, they say, is a microcosmic mirror held up against the macro world its born into and vice versa. Therefore, every decade or so, a genre revives itself from the annals of the archives and accustoms itself to a new breed of believers. With governments going to war over borders, homelessness bordering on a national crisis and mental health at an all time low, the adolescent avant-garde angst of post-punk has risen from it’s new wave grave, stolen the thunder from it’s punk-stained progression and mutated into a whole new monster. In the UK and Ireland, the post-punk renaissance is led by the politically-minded kick-in-the-teeth bassline types Idles, Shame, The Murder Capital and Fontaines D.C. who’s music is as aggressive as it is beautiful. Across the pond, there’s one band who’s making post-punk noise and taking it in a completely new direction. That band’s name is Bodega.

The Brooklyn quintet made waves with last year’s full-length debut ‘Endless Scroll,’ which does away with the formula their UK counterparts have spent 2019 perfecting, opting instead to follow the work of early to mid-noughties baroque-pop art-rock of post-punk-worshipping indie-heads like Arcade Fire. Jangly guitars tangle themselves up with infectious basslines, blurring the lines between the message and the music as co-vocalists Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfilgio sing-shout their siren songs, narrating their social commentary sardonically.

On their latest effort, mini-album ‘Shiny New Model,’ the band slip deeper into the early-era art-punk of Arcade Fire. The titular opener and closer ‘Truth Is Not Punishment’ glisten with mid-noughties indie-rock jangle, spiralling into unchartered sonic territories. Unlike their European counterparts, Bodega bedazzle with riffs that shine from the rays of a supersonic sun, sliding through solos with fervour and clocking up catchy choruses like they’re Pac-Man on speed. In a scene where everything’s so angry, it’s revitalising for a band to get up in your face, and despite all of the melancholic realism that soaks their lyrical output, leaves you smiling.

‘Realism’ is where the Arcade Fire-aping comes to full fruition with ample effect. Hozie rambles on in full-scale rhyme, waxing lyrical about Miranda’s lover’s infidelity; Bodega beat around the bush beautifully, taking real-life tales and spinning them into their own worlds. “Miranda comes home. Steps on Veranda. Txt from best friend Montana” – there’s something hidden in the simplicity here that stops Bodega from slipping into silliness; there’s a subtle sense of authenticity somewhere in their vocal delivery, which sets them apart from their peers.

‘Domesticated Animal’ highlights Belfilgio’s evolution as a vocalist and a songwriter. Sitting somewhere between Everything Now-era Arcade Fire and old-school Ting Tings, the gender politicking pushes the boundaries of the music. What should be a synth-happy bassline-blasting groove grinds itself into new ground with it’s output. The interplay between the co-vocalists verges on mirroring the on-stage sparring they constantly engage in, taking what could’ve been a flash in the pan and stoking it into a fire of it’s own.

Whether Bodega are following in the footsteps of Arcade Fire and the art-punk community of America or simply creating the sonic palette they wish to paint their masterwork from, ‘Shiny New Model’ provides the blueprints and framework for their sardonic social commentary to evolve into an animal of it’s own. Yes, they’ve got tropes and traits of noughties-greats. Yes, they’re part of a scene suffering an identity crisis amidst a commercial renaissance. Yes, their stories can be at times uncomfortable and disorienting in how relatable they are. But boy, are they one of the best creative collectives around right now.

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