Feb 24, 2023 (updated Mar 2, 2023)
Beautiful structure, an absolutely gorgeous aesthetic that brings to mind incredible imagery without saying too much, wonderful curvature, looks to be a real penetrator. I give the ceramic dildo on this cover a 9/10. Anyway, this album is fire and sounds like finally letting out the most constipated explosive diarrhea of your life.

Fucking finally, a good band from Boston. You wanna talk oversaturation of a genre right now? Let's talk about it.

Boom: Post-Punk

A genre that was at the forefront of music discussion throughout the '80s and early '90s, only to die in popularity later into the decade. In the 2000s and early 2010s, nearly all the prominent budding post-punk bands were making music that sounded closer to modern indie rock than Joy Division or Gang of Four. Nothing inherently wrong with that, though the spirit of classic post-punk bands seemed to be a thing of the past. The latter half of the 2010s and the first couple of years of the 2020s has seen many bands take post-punk and recontextualize it into their own thing. Idles and Protomartyr revived the punk energy of celebrated legends that preceded them with more modern touches, Black Country, New Road brilliantly combined post-punk with Klezmer, post-rock song structures, and the erratic, rambling vocal aptitudes of Isaac Wood, those V-Boys brought a filthy, indecent sound to post-punk with a strong sense of humor, and Squid approached the genre with a more experimental and artsy approach. However, with all these bands making such a splash, you get all these superfluous bands; Fontaine's D.C., Yard Act, Courting, Crack Clouds, The Murder Capital- even Shame, who released an album today, can be grouped in here. Mind you, I've enjoyed quite a few of the bands I listed above, but I also feel like they all rest too hard on the laurels of the bands that predate them. Very few of the many "critical darling" post-punk bands that are popping up are doing much to pioneer the genre forward.

Now, look at Model/Actriz. This fucking band- I remember when I first stumbled onto their throwaway singles Suntan and Damocles in late 2020 and was bewildered by the incredible sense of vision they seemed to have. I can't recall where exactly I first caught wind of these songs, but I do remember how I immediately recognized how refreshingly unorthodox this band's sound was. They felt monstrous, like they were made by some ferocious being that humans couldn't comprehend and should fear. After checking out their first two EPs, I discerned they were a band with potential but required polish. Dogsbody is that refinement of the band's sound.

Though Dogsbody leans more into dance-punk than the post-punk that their early EPs anticipated, it is still deeply rooted in post-punk. In the band's foreboding rhythms, you can catch whiffs of more idiosyncratic post-punk acts like This Heat and PiL. The manic vocal styling of vocalist Cole Haden falls somewhere between the unhinged, straight-out-of-the-insane asylum style of Alexis Marshall and Isaac Woods's anxious, on-the-verge of collapse from a mental breakdown rantings. Still, even while wearing these influences with pride, Model/Actriz have their own distinctly deranged sound. Unrelenting and jittery guitar tones, merciless drums, and crazed half singing coalesce into songs that sound as meticulous as they are maddening. Donkey Show's first 50 seconds lead you into a mix of a false sense of calm and anxious dread for what could be right around the corner. The frighteningly sparse, almost eerie, instrumental sounds as desolate with life as a graveyard. Consisting of only guitar feedback, it sits behind Cole Haden as he whispers near nonsense in a way that sounds almost like he's hiding from something. Then, suddenly, the song erupts into an industrial dance-punk song fitted with blown-out drums and guitars that sound straight out of Hell.

Unpredictability is Dogsbody's specialty. Dogsbody has no shortage of speedy, tireless dance-punk cuts that feel like something James Murphy and co. would cook up if they took much cocaine one night and then started making a song while seeing demons in a run-down, disheveled motel room one night. The many moments of empty space towards the end of the jumpy Crossing Guard feel as if it's building towards something monumental, though it never quite gets there; a surprisingly apt conclusion for a song on a record filled with so much volatility. Amaranth is brought to life with an inescapable vortex of thundery drums and guitars that sound like they are shivering in fear from the pure instability of Cole Haden’s performance. Other songs like Mosquito and Slate keep ramping up the intensity as they continue along, with guitars getting louder and the songs themselves accelerating even further into the terrifying Hellscape Model/Actriz paints as they get faster. This is why it's all the more frightening when a more restrained, almost peaceful- if not for the Cole Haden still sounding psychotic- moments pop up, such as Drivers, a cut whose unsettlingly tranquil atmosphere feels more akin to Perfume Genius or Xiu Xiu than the aforementioned influences. Sun In, the record closer, is perhaps the most unpredictable moment on an album filled with unceasing unpredictability; a genuinely vulnerable ballad with a sweet acoustic melody backing Cole as he sings his heart out, not quite hitting all the notes, though those moments of slightly missing a note make it feel all the more human.

“So bright with the sun in my eyes”

How am I yet to talk about the brilliant songwriting that matches the disturbed sound of the entire project? Sounding almost as if they are improvised based on what Haden is feeling in the moment; ludicrous and ominous tales that explore the darkest corners of humanity. From stories of an imaginary flower that seduced the narrator into giving themself wholly (Amaranth) to the flower to Mosquito, a song that can be interrupted as both about a berserk cannibal who is recounting his time as a killer while staring down the face of the divine before going to Hell and an incredibly nasty, way too detailed sex song. Repeated mantras and rather simplistic verses emphasize the crazed demeanor of the characters which occupy Dogsbody’s fucked up world.

This record is certainly not perfect, at least in my view. One of Dogsbody's most spectacular qualities is how nearly every song flows so smoothly and effortlessly into one another. The record is a holistic experience as each song takes elements from the last and adds new things onto them, similar to, for example, King Gizz’s Nonagon Infinity. That said, some moments toward the backend of the record begin to feel a bit too reminiscent of tracks preceding them, an unfortunate downside of such an endearing quirk. Nonetheless, Model/Actriz have plenty of time to carve out a fully realized sound. Until then, we can only enjoy the unhinged, unabashedly schizo yet simultaneously straight-fire project that Model/Actriz has graced us with for us on this short little taste of what's to come. In a day where Shame, Gorillaz, Logic, U.S. Girls, Algiers, Ghias Guevera, and Don Toliver all dropped, who would have expected my favorite album of the day would go to a debut album from a band with less than 30 ratings on this site, huh?

Favorite Tracks: Donkey Show, Mosquito, Crossing Guard, Slate, Drivers, Amaranth, Sun In
Worst Track: Sleepless

Sleepless is quite literally their best song
@ASh1nyGiratina sorry but ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด
boston mid as hell
@nah_ New Jersey citizen spotted ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž
@Chode I hate new jersey too, shit is literally just a highway
Slate best song ever made
A good band from MA, you say? Imma check that shit out : )
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