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Bodega - Endless Scroll (Album Review)

Monday, 16 July 2018 Written by Helen Payne

Bodega are the art school kids who might sneer at you for Instagramming a picture at their show. They’re the ones who, after a convincing “this isn’t satire”, order their audience to check their emails during the next song. Bodega roll out lines like “I touch myself while staring at your chat text box” and “I use my computer for everything, heaven knows I’m miserable now.” Their message: we are dominated by consumer culture and technology is taking over our lives.

‘Endless Scroll’ is primarily another satirical critique on this evergreen theme, and the quintet trek through 14 short-lived guitar tracks that unfortunately don’t quite match up to the vitality of their effervescent shows.

Seeing Bodega live is like an assault. Loud and raucous, the band boil over with anger and primal frustration.

Guitarist Madison Velding-VanDam trades in frenzied stares, while the battling vocals between Nikki Belfiglio, who also beats a hi-hat with hostile vigour, and Ben Hozie recall some kind of protest march. It’s a mix of infectious energy and razor-sharp tightness.

But the vivacity of their thrashing performances doesn’t come across anywhere near as fervently on record. The monotonous, shouted lyrics on Bodega Birth and Name Escape, in addition to the simple rhythms and rote basslines, are too drawn out and a little stale - which definitely isn’t Bodega. Without the energy of an audience before them they sound too considered, misplacing the aggression behind lines like “I am not a cinephile, motherfucker!”

With that said, ‘Endless Scroll’ is packed full of catchy lyrical hooks (“Everyone is equally a master and a slave”), satire (“gluten-free water”), wit and dark humour, and Bodega are band full of personality. It’s disappointing that they neglect these strengths for stretches of the record, and at times it’s oddly reminiscent of the way a dead-eyed, blank-faced millennial types ‘lol’ or ‘I’m crying’ into a comment box.

Bodega’s second effort would benefit from injecting more character into their production to match the vigour of their live sets. For now it's a case of click-scroll-Bodega-like.

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