silver-tongued slenderbodies serve serenity on “simple shapes”

If slenderbodies was a sports car, its handling and comfort would be top tier. But it’s not a sports car; it’s a band. And their 2022 “simple shapes” LP is their creative effort to take the sharp corners of life at a safe, comfortable speed. Not to say that their success has come slowly—because it’s actually come at a breakneck pace—but, as you’ll find, this duo of Max Vehuni and Ben Barsocchini measures success by their music’s ability to empower their listeners.

Right from track one, “plastic parts”, we can sense the bold intentionality of their lyrical selections: “I think I’m tired of plastic parts // could we skip this dream and wake me up” feels like a call to action, spurring a return to form—before plastic parts replaced our natural hearts.

Their songwriting, and title selection, run many parallels to edible items—another tool used to develop this multi-sensory masterpiece. For example, track three (entitled “chamomile”), is a song meant to induce the sensation of sipping chamomile tea, which is known to have a calming effect. The melodies are deftly delivered, going down as smoothly as their sleepless listeners’ favourite tea.

Due to the group’s intense schedule, we were unable to set up a meeting with the co-composers behind the music, Max and Benji, but we were provided a transcribed interview with Mox and Bonji, who are allegedly avatar mannequins created to “present a version of [Max and Benji] that would be most engaging.”

When asked about the songs on the album, Bonji mentioned that “tiger balm” became an important focus track because “it’s upbeat nature paired with lyrics about an ideal love that’s dependable and constant” will distract listeners from realizing that the song is actually about “self-love and dropping your protective armor”. Once again, slenderbodies music is merely a medium for their transference of empowerment.

Aside from easing their listeners into a sense of auditory serenity, slenderbodies silver-tongued delivery makes for smooth handling around each corner of the sixteen-track album. One of the best examples of said smoothness is the title track, “simple shapes”.

Used to round out the album at track fifteen, “simple shapes” comes in with a creamy multi-track guitar progression. It feels like a song you would hear during a montage in a movie where the main character is experiencing personal growth and acceptance.The harmonies in the final bridge (which seem to be pitched down tastefully), give me shivers, indicating just how much care was put into the emotions emitted by the music.

Fittingly, it is the concept of care that has kept these two connected with music throughout their lives. Vehuni spoke on this subject in a 2019 interview with The Line of Best Fit’s Sophie Walker, stating: “I’ve always been able to turn to music and creating to pull myself away from any of the darker corners”.

The best way I can describe slenderbodies’ music is just straight buttery, and their 2022 album “simple shapes” wastes no time illustrating my point. This California project has a knack for creating multi-sensory compositions which tend to slide off the tongue oh so smoothly, and with their longest record to date, “simple shapes”, they’ve done it at scale. 

Follow the duo on Instagram.

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