NYC art-punks BODGEA are closely following the slipstream of their debut LP ‘Endless Scroll’ with the mini- album ‘Shiny New Model’; a collection of songs that continues the band’s sardonic observations on modern life, encased in a quirky post-punk thrift store finesse. The five piece’s new album is a pivotal moment for the outfit and one of many firsts; it’s the first recording with new drummer Tai Lee, their first LP to be recorded in a proper studio (Power Station in New York) and the first that’s been wholly produced within the group – guitarist Madison Velding-VanDam took on the knob-twiddling duties for ‘Shiny New Model’. This collective breath of fresh air meant for a rich vein of experimentation and one that’s solidified by an extended re- working of ‘Truth Is Not Punishment’, and sees BODEGA extending the track to nearly 11 minutes. Sounding wholly jammed and brilliantly spontaneous, the song wriggles, ebbs and flows with a jaunty dance-punk flavour wrapped around a jagged art-rock strut. There’s even time for vocalist Ben Hozie to ad-lib snippets from Chuck Berry’s ‘Riding Along in my Automobile’. This long version of ‘Truth Is Not Punishment’ is a reward to anyone purchasing a physical version of ‘Shiny New Model’ plus it completely captures the infectiousness of the unit’s live show.
The record’s eponymous track kicks off the LP, with a paired down garage rock jangle, Hozie’s sounds calm while documenting the wanton thirst of consumerism in front of his very eyes. “Every woman and man is a microcosm of lust” and “you can increase your data but you’ll be replaced by a shiny model” conjures up images of a disposable generation, hardwired into instant gratification. ‘Treasures of an Ancient World’ lacks the dynamism of anything from ‘Endless Scroll’ as it aimlessly jingle-jangles without making much impact. The same can’t be said of ‘No Vanguard Revival’; a wired, urgent sprint through rampant drumming, guitar drones and jerky rhythms; Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio combine to chant the song’s title, as they reflect on the lack of new creative ideas and developments in society. It’s this quirky, razor sharp edge that gives BODEGA their appeal and this is echoed via ‘Domesticated Animal’s glitchy dance-punk. Funky and a touch tribal, Belfiglio purrs lyrics about being a suppressed woman and subordinately recounting toxic preconceptions. “Wasted on opinions/I like to be told what to think and “I need to succeed in the knowledge that I’ll fail” are the tip of the iceberg, whilst the belittling “I’ll never be more than the comforts I seek” create a damning vision of a 50s housewife- like character; controlled, repressed, someone to be draped on a businessman’s arm, rather than a strong, independent woman with her own thoughts and dreams. ‘Realism’s dreamy, wistful shoegaze tells the story of Miranda, someone who’s attempting to rid herself of a poisonous suitor “she’s tearing up photos to tear up his body”. ‘Knife on the Platter’ squalls and slithers through razor-like guitar slashes and slow, lumbering bass lines. The song’s narrative is anchored on an actress that’s being told “if you neglect the secrets/she said/there’s no use for you” like our protagonist is only good for gossip.
As with any group trying out new stuff ‘Shiny New Model’ sometimes doesn’t quite hit the same spot as ‘Endless Scroll’ but on the whole, it works as a living sketch book of ideas and one that shows BODEGA are brimming with inspiration and creativity.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams
Shiny New Model is now out via What’s Your Rupture?