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DECAY, RENEWAL, & RELEASE: INSIDE BODYWASH’S DARK, CATHARTIC FEVER DREAM ‘I HELD THE SHAPE WHILE I COULD’
Born out of isolation, inner turmoil and emotional unrest, Bodywash’s ‘I Held the Shape While I Could’ is an intimate reckoning brought to live through achingly visceral sound.
Dislocation is inescapably jarring, but on Bodywash’s sophomore album, the Montreal duo found a new home –
one that was (and remains) definitively, and undeniably, their own. Born out of isolation, inner turmoil and emotional unrest, I Held the Shape While I Could is an intimate reckoning brought to live through achingly visceral sound: A dark, shoegaze-drenched dream pop record balanced on the pinpoint of darkness and light, chaos and control, the conscious and the subconscious world.
Released April 14, 2023 via Light Organ Records, I Held the Shape While I Could is a cool, cathartic fever dream: An outpouring of tender turbulence wrought out in twelve churning, emotionally charged tracks filled with fuzz, overdrive, drone, and above all else, a raw human core.
The follow-up to Bodywash’s 2019 debut album Comforter sees the Montreal-based band of Rosie Long Decter and Chris Steward delving deeper than ever into the human experience, creating a soundtrack to dislocation that can feel as jarring as the very act itself – yet it’s one that also soothes and stirs a weary soul, finding that speck of light in the dark that we cling to in our times of hardship and need.
“This record came from a period in our lives when we were both going through a lot of turmoil, also known as our early 20s,” Rosie Long Decter tells Atwood Magazine. “It probably could have been called Nobody likes you when you’re 23. We both went through a series of disorienting experiences — breakups, moves, family revelations, etc. — and I think we were both writing from those places. We went into the studio with about nine or ten songs in June 2021 and came out in the fall with a new album.”
“I think we mostly stayed true to the vision we had for this record,” bandmate Chris Steward adds. “We knew we wanted to explore different genres and palettes to our last record but with a bleaker overall sound. If Comforter was like being swaddled in your grandma’s blanket, I Held the Shape While I Could is like braving the freezing cold while you deliver groceries to a COVID-stricken friend.”
Bodywash formed in the mid-2010s and released their debut EP, simply titled EP, in January 2016. Their band name speaks seamlessly to the experience of their music on the listener. “We like it because it kind of gets at the washed out sound of dream pop, but also that there’s something more solid—some body—to our writing,” Long Decter smiles.
Asked (albeit jokingly) whether the band are more on the “clean” or “dirty” side of that name, Steward laughs, “Definitely more on the dirty side! Pretty much everything we record ends up getting run through some kind of distortion/saturation and I’m not a huge fan of pristine clean sounds.”