BODYWASH ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM I HELD THE SHAPE WHILE I COULD + SHARES NEW SINGLE
ALBUM OUT APRIL 14 ON LIGHT ORGAN RECORDS
Bodywash — the Montreal duo of Chris Steward and Rosie Long Decter — announces its new album, I Held the Shape While I Could, out April 14 on Light Organ Records, and shares the lead single/video, “Massif Central”. Over I Held the Shape While I Could‘s twelve tracks, Steward and Long Decter reflect on their separate and shared experiences of losing a sense of place, the way something once solid can slip between your fingers, and their attempts to build something new from the fallout. On lead single “Massif Central”, stark guitars and relentless drums accompany Steward’s whispered vocals as he recounts an experience of bureaucratic purgatory: a typo in a government letter caused Steward to lose his legal work status in Canada.
“After eight years living in Canada, in the Spring of 2021, a government clerical error caused me to lose my legal status here,” Steward explains. “As a UK national, I lost my right to work. My savings trickled away during months where I could do little but pace the corners of my apartment. I was prepared to pack my bags and leave as the life I’d hoped to construct for myself seemed to vanish into a bureaucratic abyss.”
“‘Massif’ is the sound of wailing into a cliff and not knowing if you’ll hear an echo,” continued Steward. “The spoken word is inspired by a squirrel that was trapped in the wall behind my bed, clawing its way to salvation. With the help of friends, family, music, and a few immigration lawyers (and the rest of my savings), I’m now a permanent resident here. But this song remains as testament to my experience with an exploitative institution.”
The accompanying video by Jordan Allen is a stunning collage of live footage, distorted visuals, and eerie graphics. “With ‘Massif Central,’ we wanted to encapsulate the panic and urgency that Chris experienced, and have the abstracts portray the anxiety and hopelessness one can feel at the hands of bureaucracy,” Allen adds. “I chose graphics that heavily leaned into feelings of being lost in a maze, with towering structures and horizon lines pulling you into them. The idea was that the camera would be both a CCTV view of the band, but also glitching to reveal the more emotionally internal visual aspects.”
Steward and Long Decter met in college in 2014, but didn’t immediately share a musical language. Chris grew up in London listening to British dream pop and classic shoegaze; Rosie was raised in Toronto on folk and Canadiana. Working toward their own blend of airy vocals, intricate guitar work and atmospheric synths, they released their debut EP as Bodywash in 2016 and their first full-length, Comforter, in 2019.
As they prepared to release Comforter, Long Decter and Steward both experienced alienating shifts in their personal lives, leading to a mutual sense of dislocation. They began writing new material that was darker, more experimental, and at the same time more invigorating than the soothing dream pop on Comforter. In 2021 they took these songs into the studio, sharing them with longtime drummer Ryan White and recording/mixing engineer Jace Lasek (Besnard Lakes). The resulting I Held the Shape While I Could is a record that lives in the sonics of decay and renewal: breaks that burst forth from a squall of fuzz guitars, drones that glitch and stutter like ice willing itself to thaw.
There are many places like home, and on I Held the Shape While I Could, home is a mutable thing; a location that is fixed until it isn’t. Across the record, Steward’s abstract guitars and Long Decter’s cascading vocals act as ambient throughlines, blurring the digital and organic, gesturing toward something intangible, just out of reach. Home is a process — the back and forth of guitar riffs and vocal hums, of files sent and received across the ocean. A world imagined and sculpted together.
I Held The Shape While I Could
(Light Organ Records)
Release Date: April 14, 2023