Published Oct 24, 2019If you called Bodega a pretentious Brooklyn band, they'd likely just say thanks. The art-punk group lean into cultural critique with self-awareness and sharp elbows. With their new Shiny New Model EP, they continue to deride digital culture and maintain their forward momentum while responding to the attention and acclaim they've drawn in the last year with equal parts smile and smirk.
On title track, Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio yield their microphones like megaphones, with a spoken-word delivery that turns a vapid cliché against itself. Proto-punk essentials — boxy, down-picked bass lines, intersecting guitar riffs and jolting drums — propel the band's invective throughout the EP. Tossing a throwback sound (à la Television or Algebra Suicide) against a wall of lyrics that eschew modern digital culture is surely a conscious decision, if limiting. "Treasures of the Ancient World" serves the ethos of the genre beautifully as well.
Four of the seven songs feel complete, but with only two clocking in over three minutes, the whole thing goes by quicker than a day job nap break. The somnambulant "Realism," for instance, would lose nothing by going on longer than it does. The band opt for brevity over drawing out the day-dreamy guitar texture, leaving it feeling unfinished, but also hinting at sounds Bodega may explore in the future.
This EP is more sketchbook than fully realized piece of art, a placeholder between full-lengths designed to keep the band in the cultural conversation. Despite the cynicism the band level at the content machine, they need to feed it to stay relevant. There's no avoiding it, at least until it is inevitably replaced by a Shiny New Model. (What's Yr Rupture?)