Brooklynites BODEGA live by the mantra of ‘the best critique is self-critique’, which makes their aptly titled debut LP ‘Endless Scroll’ even funnier and acutely relatable. Mentioning the words ‘funnier’ and ‘relatable’ in conjunction with an album that centres around depicting life on the internet sounds pretty horrific, right? Like those god-awful Instagram videos that populate your explore page and aren’t funny in the slightest. Thankfully the NYC five piece have side-stepped pastiche for self-mocking social commentary, all played out to the sound of a wiry-post-punk-funk-garage-rock barrel of laughs.
In an interview with DIY, co-vocalist Ben Hozie remarked “it just seemed obvious that we couldn’t write a contemporary record without talking about the internet”. Web-based shenanigans litter ‘Endless Scroll’ like dank-memes, cat videos and that person that’s always posting photos of their dinner/cocktail/insert inanimate object here. However, instead of BODEGA bemoaning their peers’ use of the Worldwide Web, they place their tongues firmly in their cheeks and turn the critique inwards. ‘Bookmarks’ shuffles with a rubbery garage-rock clatter as Hozie and fellow vocalist Nikki Belfiglio trade sarcastic missives “every morning/when I wake up/same clicks to the same sites everyday/same things go/in my body/same thoughts fill my brain/so often I forget what I’m trying to accomplish/bookmarks to myself keep my eyes on the mission”. You’re picturing yourself right now aren’t you, visualising your routine driven day; alarm goes off, pick up phone, an endless scroll on the toilet, into the shower, to work, the same lunch, come home, watch Netflix, go to bed and repeat? It’s BODEGA’s mocking wit that makes you chuckle at your absurd daily rituals rather than hang your head in shame. A rebounding bass line fuels ‘Bodega Birth’ as Hozie and Belfiglio chant the record’s title along with repeatedly uttering “this is documentary” while also declaring “all day stare at screen”. The more cryptic nod of the head towards our cyber-life styles crops up on the frantic strum-along of opening track ‘How Did This Happen?’– Hozie announces “it’s the world now don’t discriminate/everyone is equally a master and a slave”. On face value that’s a contentious lyric but Hozie’s reasoning behind his words is that it’s to document the homogenous virtual boxes we put ourselves in. We’re masters of our own little corners of the net but we’re slaves to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et al, as we rent space like binary battery hens.
Aside from mocking internet interactions, the art-punkers also set their sights on cooler than thou hipsters, in another case of self-critique; the post-punk-funk of ‘Name Escape’ is LCD Soundsystem reduced down to sub four minutes with the New Yorkers painting a picture of a nameless scene-dude that appears everywhere but they’ll be damned if they know who he is. Choppy, staccato guitars frame ‘Can’t’ Knock The Hustle’ as Hozie delivers the wonderfully sarcastic words “serving gluten free water with sugar”, while Belfiglio chips in about it being “$9 for a smoothie”. Then the rump shaking ‘Gyrate’ is a puzzler, is Belfiglio mocking those that hit clubs and opt to “wiggle your ass around” in a vacuous way or have BODEGA just written a song about jiggling what yo mama gave you with pessimism nowhere to be seen? Either way, it’s a song to get your groove on to.
Brilliant cynical and wryly funny ‘Endless Scroll’ is everything……(ahem, sorry I got distracted I was checking my Insta – oooo look a cute kitten!) you love and hate about modernity.
Words and Thoughts by Adam Williams
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