Shiny New Model, the latest release from New York’s arty post-punk darlings BODEGA, is an EP that delivers six new songs and a reworking of “Truth Is Not Punishment”, the last track on their excellent 2018 full-length debut, Endless Scroll. The new album works as the second tie-me-over between LPs after Witness Scroll, a collection of live recordings released earlier this year.
As if introducing itself as an addendum to Endless Scroll, Shiny New Model opens with the cold, artificially generated, Alexa-like voice that popped up sporadically throughout BODEGA’s debut. Here, the voice announces, “You will be replaced, by a shiny new model.” The bouncy title track features guitarist/singer Ben Hozie providing lead vocals with Nikki Belfiglio adding occasional monosyllabic shouts during the song’s choruses. The tempo is pulled back slightly for “Treasures of the Ancient World”. Here the guitars provide a woozy, backwoods, almost CCR-esque groove as Hozie takes on the vocal duties exclusively, mingling lines that hint at a romantic fixation with lyrics about a museum’s mystic artifacts.
Shiny New Model’s two centerpieces, “No Vanguard Revival” and “Knife on the Platter”, are distinctly different from one another in both tone and tempo. The former is a short, sharp shout-along that takes aim at bands whose musical influences are obvious to the point of hackery. “While we were doing Pink Flag ecstatic at half-mast, still doing Velvets, still doing Elvis,” Hozie shouts over warped chords just before tearing through the song’s lone driving chorus. Meanwhile, “Knife on the Platter”, the EP’s second single, is a much more laidback affair that creeps through like The Cure’s “Other Voices”. Nikki Belfiglio provides lead vocals on the ephemeral “Domesticated Animal”. And, as if emptying out their works in progress folder, BODEGA toss in something even more brief with the fifty-six second “Realism”.
The EP is concluded with a rerecording of “Truth Is Not Punishment”. The new take sounds cleaner and tacks-on just under a minute’s worth of additional guitar noodling. With Shiny New Model, BODEGA manage to wring every last drop of ingenuity they conjured on Endless Scroll. While it is by no means essential and may perhaps only be truly appreciated by BODEGA completists, Shiny New Model does serve to remind casual listeners of just how talented this group is, and it sets Ben Hozie and company up nicely for whatever the band does next.