Album Review: Bodega – Endless Scroll

Words by Tom Sloman

Endless Scroll is the debut album from buzzy NYC post-punk upstarts Bodega, their sound a mixture of snappy basslines, razor sharp guitars and vocals firmly set to deadpan. The band are gathering hype and praise at a rapid pace, putting them in pole position to be The Next Big Thing.

Bodega - Endless Scroll artwork

If this scenario and their music sounds familiar, that is because it is. Their sound closely recalls many of their New York and Brooklyn forebears; if you listen close enough you can hear the ghosts of Parquet Courts and Ought echoing across the record. The record was even recorded by Parquet Courts’ very own Austin Brown and it’s almost impossible to not draw comparisons between the two.

Fortunately, Bodega have something interesting to say and the music is often invigorating and shot through with white hot energy. ‘How Did This Happen!?’ is a bold opener, a familiar sound mixed with a contemporary message with lead singer Ben Hozie rallying against technology, passivity and posers with every spite-flecked movement of his tongue. It’s an iconoclastic start, a call to arms against passively consuming.

The track begins with a computerised voice, something that recurs throughout the album, underpinning one of the main themes of the album: a fixation with how technology has affected our ability to interact with culture, media and one another. This initially sounds heavy, but Bodega’s four-to-the-floor approach to songwriting ensures that you instantly get on board with their messages and themes.

Sharp tracks like ‘I’m Am Not A Cinephile’ and ‘Can’t Knock The Hustle’ are true sub-2-minute punk bangers, which add in a change of pace from the album’s default mode of motorik thump. The former boasts the snarkiest hook on the album delivered with a Williamsburg smirk: ‘I am not a cinephile, motherfucker.’

Despite the band’s energy and clever lyricism, the album does eventually become bogged down in its own influences leading to some weak tracks such as ‘Boxes for The Move’ and ‘Warhol’ that stick too firmly to a post-punk template that’s either been done to death by many bands in recent memory, or simply just been done better. The rambling flow of Hozie’s lyricism begins to wear down, as you realise that some of these riffs just sound too copy-and-paste. This is ironic considering the band decries ‘staring at computers’ and not being engaged enough.

The record shines when they let a bit of air into their sound, either by slowing the pace down and offering some variation, such as on the incessantly catchy ‘Jack In Titanic’, or when Nikki Belfiglio is at the forefront of songs ‘Margot’ and ‘Gyrate’. Her voice instantly brings a unique texture to Bodega’s sound, her high range perfectly chiming with the less bassy, jagged guitar parts.

Bodega are clearly a promising band with the ability to write some great, tightly performed songs and their charm is impossible to ignore. They need to take time to develop before the next record to go beyond being just another New York buzz band – if they continue to develop they could become truly exciting. At the moment they risk getting lost in the endless scroll that they rally against.