Published Aug 27, 2019Montréal's Bodywash began five years ago when bandmates Chris Steward and Rosie Long Dector met and discovered their mutual appreciation of shoegaze. Comforter, their debut, is pristine — sometimes to the point of sterility — but it contains transformative moments of tenderness, wonder and fear.
A collective of fellow Montréal musicians supported Comforter's recording process: Nigel Ward of Seoul assisted with recording, and Taylor Smith and Austin Tufts of Braids mixed the final product. It's intricately written and skilfully performed, but the band's love of shoegaze's instrumental touchstones sometimes hinders their ability to stand out. "Reverie" and "Comforter" recline on the genre's signature bed of cool, swirling synth ambience, airy guitar melodies and reverberated vocals. "With Heat" could find a home on Slowdive's Souvlaki.
The stronger tracks see Bodywash breathe their own anxieties and desires into the genre's conventions. "Sunspots" begins bright and hazy, but at the midpoint flows elegantly from tranquility to sorrow with eerie, whining guitars and trip-hop beats. Bodywash welcome this darkness: "When everything is so serene, it's hard to see / We miss the cracks that open up beneath our feet." "Eye to Eye" balances a poignant melody with crystalline synth dings and a decorative bass, before it swallows its saccharine chorus — "Seeing eye to eye, eye to eye, as I wander" — in roaring guitars.
Bodywash have the technical prowess and creative inertia to succeed. Comforter's highlights show they'll triumph when they let sincerity and experimentation guide their sound. (Luminelle)