Bodywash – I Held The Shape While I Could

By Ryan G

Finding a satisfying dreampop / post punk record can sometimes be a complicated endeavor. One of the pivotal moments for me as a music fan was discovering this spectrum in the early days of running this site. Bands like CADETS, Weeknight, Fine Animal, Purity Ring, Young Magic, Bear in Heaven… and many others shaped my early tastes for those sounds.

I’m not that naive that I believe I can recreate those early novel feelings, but the new record from Bodywash is about as satisfying as it gets within this genre.

I Held the Shape While I Could is a record that is neither strictly dreampop nor strictly post punk, nor strictly chillwave. It’s an experience that encompasses many moods yet is strangely consistent. Don’t try to take a nap to it because you’ll be startled more than once, but this music certainly has an entrancing quality.

One of the most poignant moments on the album is the segue from “Dissents” into “Ascents.” It’s a part of the album storyline that brings the mood down to a hypnotic level before waking you back up with a satisfying, danceable section. This motif kicks off the record too in the opening track “In As Far,” which reaches its groove in the final minute of the song.

As is the case with a lot of acts in this genre, the vocals are wistful and at times a bit mournful. That isn’t to say there aren’t moments of joy, though. The second track, “Picture Of” has a melody that immediately stands out and creates anticipation for what’s to come.

Music in this spectrum often conveys a vibe that it appears to have emerged from the dark underbelly of a scene. This isn’t meant to be demeaning – rather, the underbelly of a creature is often a place that’s hidden and also one that’s most vulnerable on the body. Bodywash seeks to expose these areas of creativity and deploy various mechanisms of therapy – washing that part of the body, if you will (see what I did there?).

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