Bodywash

Comforter

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A group formed by Chris Steward and Rosie Long Decter at Montreal's McGill University in the mid-2010s, Bodywash made their recording debut with a dream pop-oriented eponymous EP in 2016. While tweaking their four-piece lineup, they headed back to the studio with ambitions to add shoegaze and trip-hop influences to the mix on their full-length debut. Emerging with a much more elaborate, experimentally inclined cascade of spacy guitars and synths, wistful melodies, and special effects, Comforter anchors its textures with a tight, driving rhythm section, as on widescreen opener "Reverie." That track is followed by the more structured and coherent "Twins," which still glistens into the atmosphere with humming synths, ringing melodic guitar, additional liquidy electronic timbres, and layered delay on vocals and instruments alike. With Steward harmonized by Long Decter, its porous, barely intelligible vocals concern trying to make distinctions between distant objects and between emotions. Elsewhere, titles like "Sunspots," "Paradisiac," and "Another Plane" align with the album's loyally executed concept and design. While consistently celestial, guitar distortion and other noise are part of the palette on entries including "Reprise," "With Heat," and, to a lesser degree, "Comforter." The title track merges dreamy textures and discordant ones like processed percussive sounds and tonal buzzing noise in the vein of cicadas. Long Decter's ethereal, lyrical vocals as well as harmonic synths provide the titular comfort. The relatively restrained closer, "Another Plane," brings listeners back down to earth before grooving, trip-hop-style, toward the horizon. Taken together, it's a dazzling debut that manages to seem exacting and strangely elusive at once.

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