Our Band Could Be YR Life by Bodega album review by Leslie Ken Chu for Northern Transmissions


Our Band Could Be YR Life


On BODEGA’s third album, Our Brand Could Be YR Life, the Brooklyn outfit are critical of modernity and consumerism as always, but musically, they’ve loosened up. They’ve uncoiled their tightly wound, angular punk in favour of the sleekest rock music they’ve ever made. Named in reference to Michael Azeradd’s classic book Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981–1991, BOEDGA’s latest album similarly looks backwards, drawing from the band’s own history. Our Brand features reworked versions of laptop tracks that founding members Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio wrote eight years ago, back when they were still going by the name BODEGA BAY. With nostalgia being such a lucrative marketing angle in 2024, reviving, rebooting, and reinterpreting the band’s own past is a pointed move.

It’s comforting to hear familiar elements, like the artificial voice clip that opens “G.N.D. Deity,” “ATM,” and “Bodega Bait.” On the wispy “Major Amberson,” it’s easy to hear the seeds of BODEGA’s tender fan favourites including “Charlie” from their 2018 debut LP Endless Scroll. The rolling “ATM,” on which Hozie recites actions like programmed commands (“Stick in plastic / Type in code”), is standard BODEGA fare.

But Our Brand Could Be YR Life stands out most when they depart from the familiar. The latter could pass for a Dinosaur Jr. jam that’s been cleaned up. “Stain Gaze” is a methodically ambling, sometimes sludgy track that at points calls to mind Pavement. “Webster Hall” is another track that leans towards a tempered pace, and though Belfiglio is known for her spitfire vocals, she sings in no hurry here, nor on album closer “City Is Taken.” “Born Into by What Consumes” is trance-like, as is the hypnotic, freewheeling “Set the Control for the Heart of the Drum,” which features a brief unaccompanied conversational interlude between Belfiglio and Hozie. And then there’s the triptych of back-to-back-to-back songs “Cultural Consumer I,” “Cultural Consumer II,” and “Cultural Consumer III,” BODEGA’s first time including such a mini-
suite within an album.

Without knowing for sure how much BODEGA transformed Belfiglio and Hozie’s original tracks on Our Brand Could Be YR Life, the album is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation; it’s hard to comment on how much they’ve grown as songwriters. But with as many qualities both familiar and new for the band, one thing’s for sure: BODEGA have stayed true to themselves as a band that knows itself well, a band that knows what works for them, and most importantly, a band that continues to relish in pushing itself creatively and conceptual.

Pre-order Our Band Can Be UR Life by Bodega HERE


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