The Body

In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: Songs from artists who have new music coming in 2016.

The Body, “Shelter Is Illusory” (2016)

When Portland-via-Providence duo The Body announced No One Deserves Happiness, the band elected to describe the album as the “the grossest pop album of all time.” After spending much of the past few years working on collaborations with other artists—The Haxan Cloak, Thou, and Krieg are only a few—it seemed as if the new record would be a return to the band’s doom-metal offerings. Instead, the first track released from No One Deserves Happiness, “Shelter Is Illusory,” shows that The Body has absorbed those collaborations into the band itself.

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“Shelter Is Illusory” starts out in a familiar way for Body fans, with drummer Lee Buford establishing a tribal drum beat and flicking in some washes of programmed feedback. When Chip King’s vocals kick in, it’s the piercing shrieks that fans have come to expect. But, slowly, the band’s pop ambitions come to the forefront. More electronics enter the fold, and King’s vocals drop out to make way for Maralie Armstrong of Humanbeast. Taking hold at the song’s midsection, Armstrong drives home The Body’s self-ascribed pop descriptor.

Though it’s far from traditionally accessible, “Shelter Is Illusory” feels like a small piece of a larger puzzle. It hints at the fact that No One Deserves Happiness is likely to be another leap in the band’s trajectory, one that can only be understood in the context of the album’s larger whole. While pop-metal is a term often leveraged at the likes of Torche, and with good reason, The Body’s approach reflects more modern trends. In a way, the song almost feels like an unused backing track to a grimy hip-hop record, but that somehow makes perfect sense. The Body routinely subverts expectations, and “Shelter Is Illusory” is no exception, though it’s hard to think anyone was expecting its latest endeavor to be gross pop music.