BY JENNIFER KELLY
Bodega makes smart, rattling tight post-punk rackets out of scrambling guitars, a crazy bounce of bass and drums and pop culture fragments strung together in rhythmic sprays. The Brooklyn six-piece takes its cue from singer/guitar slasher Ben Hozie, who swears he’s not a cinephile (“motherfucker!”) but nonetheless chants at length about “Jack in Titanic” and maintains an IMDB page.
Nikki Belfiglio is a worthy abettor, echoing fragments of deadpan rants, interjecting Delta 5-ish “huhs!” and “hahs!” and taking a Pylon-ish lead on “Gyrate,” a song about female pleasure with its own Harry-Met-Sally interlude. Women make up the rest of the band, too, with Madison Velding-VanDam slashing out abrupt dissonant riffs on guitar, Heather Elle bumping up from below on bass and Montana Simone tightening the screws with box-y, disciplined rhythms.
Bodega’s sound is taut and minimalist, an onslaught that stabs in with a frenzy then retreats to the margins. The emptiness between the notes feels like a thing itself, a nihilist nothing amidst hedonism. Likewise, the songs are united by an agitation over alienation. “How Did This Happen!?” views resistance demonstrations through a thick pane of glass, as disconnected from the protests as the events that inspired them. “Name Escape,” with its twitchy ESG-esque bounce, spends its whole (brief) duration trying to remember a scenester’s name. And “Can’t Knock the Hustle” is clearly knocking the hustle, or at least abstaining from it. Relentlessly clever, disdainful, sharp, Bodega satirizes everything it sees.
Well, not quite everything. “Charlie,” the disc’s most lyrical, tuneful track, memorializes a childhood friend who died young, but who remains connected, somehow, through a shared love of music. “Remember when we had an invisible band/you played invisible bass guitar, I clutched invisible mic stand,” sings Hozie in the most straightforward and heartfelt lines of the album. Then later, “and the last time I saw you was an empty room/you showed up halfway through the set and then you left with the tune.”
It’s a weird, lovely, disquieting interval, but you’ve barely got time to digest it before Bodega is back to banging. The final cut, “Truth Is Not a Punishment,” is straight on guitar-scrabbling, kick-drum thumping, hopped up anthemry. Blistering, incisive and occasionally even surprising, Endless Scroll is anything but dull.
DOWNLOAD: “How Did This Happen!?” “Truth Is Not a Punishment” “Charlie”