As time marches on, something seemingly impossible is happening: the Body are getting weirder, as evidenced by their new album No One Deserves Happiness, out now on Thrill Jockey.
The experimental sludge duo of Chip King (guitars and vocals) and Lee Buford (drums and programming) have always made things lovingly difficult and dissonant for their listeners. Since releasing their self-titled debut in 2004, their sound has steadily become more tangled and complex. Always harrowing, they've been moving steadily away from traditional song structures and toward something more difficult and disturbing.
"I don't know, like maybe I'm just tired of 'riffs' and the idea that there have to be guitar riffs and melodies and stuff," King tells Exclaim! "For my part, it's usually me trying to make my guitar sound more like an airplane engine or something, you know?"
King's own interests have become ever-more alienating, as he dives into a fascination with noise and ugliness. He says that he's "kind of fallen into this zone where I don't really listen to much music at all, or it's like noise, you know? It's almost like my tastes have run to like music that's not musical."
But their goal with No One Deserves Happiness was not to make an experimental noise monstrosity, but rather "the grossest pop record of all time." The Body smashed experimental metallic sludge together with a disarmingly melodic pop aesthetic. King explains that this comes out of a union of his aesthetic and his partner Lee Buford's.
"Lee listens to a lot of stuff like Fleetwood Mac and the Beach Boys and stuff, these depressing love songs. And we both enjoy [it], like when we're on the road we listen to a lot of pop music. It's kind of empty-ish but still, definitely emotional music, but in this weird, easy way."
At the intersection of Buford's interest in pop and King's fascination with harsh noise and experimental sounds, No One Deserves Happiness takes shape as a musical chimera. Sometimes intensely catchy and sometimes impenetrable, with moments of loveliness juxtaposed against extreme abjection, it's the strangest record the Body have produced yet (and that is saying something). Yet King believes that the Body are getting closer to the sound he's trying to bring into the world.
"It's proven pretty difficult over time to bring that to where I'd like it to be, but it's getting closer I think."