Written by: PP on 20/07/2021 19:09:55

It must be frustrating being an AFI fan seeing that they constantly engage in dramatic stylistic change from one album to the next. This time around, they're quite obviously flirting with the Alkaline Trio segment given how closely the first few tracks on their eleventh studio album "Bodies" mirror the dark, yet oddly uplifting vocal dynamic between Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano on their last album, "Is This Thing Cursed?". I mean, "Twisted Tongues" could virtually be a bonus track on that album, and although "Far Too Near" is a bit more like gothified electro-rock, its vocal melodies are still closely influenced by said record especially midway through.

At the same time, "Dulceria" is what you might get if you merge the approach from the aforementioned tracks with a weird AFI take on Muse's experimental material. That's not to say any of these cuts are bad, quite the contrary: AFI hasn't sounded this good in as long as I can physically remember (at least since 2003's "Sing The Sorrow"). The same approach continues "Begging For Trouble" and "On Your Back", both of which feature more Alkaline Trio-inspired material with undertones of The Cure and Depeche Mode thrown in as well. Then you've got the electro-rock tracks like "Escape From Los Angeles" and the power-pop of "Looking Tragic"... and all of a sudden the record starts feeling like it's falling apart because it can't stick to a uniform soundscape.

Basically, what you have on "Bodies" is a mish-mash of styles, some blatant plagiarism, and a back/forth wave between pop, gothic punk, alternative rock, and electronic music (including synthwave). This is particularly clear in the second half of the album where tracks like "Back From The Flesh" / "Looking Tragic" / "Death Of The Party" virtually could be written by three different bands, that's how disparate they feel from one another. It's a shame because the first half of the album is excellent. Lots of catchy songs, dark melodies, and solid songwriting. It's on the second half where the record leaves behind a confusing impression, even if the individual songs aren't that bad. Worth checking out for the strong beginning.


Download: Twisted Tongues, Begging For Trouble, On Your Back
For the fans of: Alkaline Trio, Muse, The Cure, Depeche Mode
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.06.2021
Rise Records

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