‘Body Type’ Announces Second Album with ‘Miss The World’ Single
It was just last May that Body Type released their debut album, ‘Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising’ – which in a five-star review, NME lauded as “a self-possessed statement of intent and one of the best Australian debut albums in recent memory”. But the Sydney punks already have their sights set on the next chapter: ‘Expired Candy’, announced today (February 22) with new single ‘Miss The World’.
Work on the new record began just weeks after Body Type finished tracking ‘Everything Is Dangerous’ (at the end of February 2020), with plenty of time to write after release plans for their first record were bodied by the COVID-19 pandemic. “That was a big part of what helped us work through the stagnation and the frustration of not being able to plan anything,” guitarist/vocalist Annabel Blackman tells NME.
Thanks to its nearly-three-year gestation, ‘Expired Candy’ – which drops June 2 via Poison City Records and can be pre-ordered here – is a trip to listen to. The record hops from jaunty power-pop bops (‘Weekend’, ‘Sha La La’) to vicious punk belters (‘Miss The World’, ‘Anti-Romancer’) to melancholic rock’n’roll jammers (‘Creation Of Man’, ‘Beat You Up’). “Some of the songs we were writing,” explains drummer Cecil Coleman, “I remember jamming them in my old house in, like, September 2020. It was pretty bonkers – and I think that’s why there is this cool ebb and flow of tones on the album.”
The lack of a clear schedule, too, offered Body Type an opportunity to experiment more in the songwriting process. “We challenged ourselves a lot more,” Coleman says. She notes that ‘Everything Is Dangerous’ was “a bit of a ‘fuck you’ album in a sense” because it drew mostly from the band’s formative years in the Australian punk scene and far too much time was spent in the company of misogynists and gatekeepers.
“That was the noise we wanted to make and the people we wanted to be,” she continues, “because we were really angry and we were trying to carve out a space for ourselves in the industry. But on this one, it’s like, ‘We’re here now – we worked out fucking asses off, we’ve made this space for ourselves, and we’re fucking awesome, so we’re just going to do what we want.’
Blackman adds that it was freeing for the band to shed their imposter syndrome and instead “just write fun songs that feel nice to play”. But rest assured ‘Expired Candy’ (which the band recorded with longtime collaborator, Party Dozen drummer Jonathan Boulet) does still sport those biting, pit-ready punk jams that Body Type cut their teeth on. Case in point: lead single ‘Miss The World’, a quintessential riot grrrl anthem that Coleman quips “always reminds me of the Daria theme song”.
‘Miss The World’ is described by McComish as “an ode to the realisations, personal and collective, that occurred during [the pandemic] – realisations about society, culture, values, the things that matter [and] the parts we play”. So she declared in a formal statement: “Complacency is dangerous, passion is contagious.”
McComish leads the charge on ‘Miss The World’ – steered by the backing of Coleman’s punchy fills, Blackman’s walloping distortion and the grungy bass work of Georgia Wilkinson-Derums – as an emotionally raw anthem about humanity’s longing for connection and community, spun through the lens of “a violent preteen anarchist / your oxymoronic protagonist”. Shots at right-wing pundits and the prevalence of “a unique kind of entitlement” give it an acerbic bite, but the anger at the core of ‘Miss The World’ stems from one particularly wholesome feeling, as McComish sings in the song’s refrain: “I miss the world / But mostly I miss B-O-D-Y-T-Y-P-E.”
That personal connection has made ‘Miss The World’ a fast favourite in Body Type’s live set – “it’s got this special kind of power when we play it live,” says Blackman – and the political edge makes it a particularly timely anthem. “I know it holds a lot of meaning to people when we make the more outspoken, kind of pointed political statements that get made in this band,” Blackman continues. “I keep feeling more aware of the fact that we’re women in a world where there’s a lot of men, and we’ve been on tours with lots of men recently, and it’s like… I feel like these are important statements to make, and they’re so well received because they’re needed.”
On their last major tours, Body Type shared stages with Fontaines D.C. and the Pixies. While only the former is comprised of exclusively white men, both had predominantly male crews and crowds: something Body Type remain committed to challenging.
Coleman points out that a lot of these gender imbalances are unintentional, which is precisely why they’re worth interrogating: “There are people you meet or bands you play with who have probably never had to consider the fact that they only play with dudes, or that their touring party is all dudes, and the majority of their crowds are all dudes… But it’s definitely something that we’re very aware of – it’s an interesting place to be when you walk backstage and it’s just like, ‘Ah, OK, there’s not a single woman here!’”
Change is happening slowly, Blackman adds, but surely: “It was actually funny how many middle-aged guys, who were at the Pixies shows, came up to us again at Fontaines and were like, ‘You were so fantastic at the Pixies, it’s so great you’re here, I’m so excited to see you again!’”
Locally, too, Body Type have seen Australia’s rock and punk scenes make enormous leaps towards a more diverse and inclusive landscape. “There’s been this huge explosion of diverse bands across the scene,” Coleman raves, “and it’s just so cool to see that – they’re on line-ups, they’re putting records out and they’re taking up that space. Especially coming back after a few years and starting to tour again, it’s been really inspiring and cool to see that change, and to be here alongside so many other incredible bands that are redefining the genre. I feel very lucky that we’re able to be a tiny part of that as well.”
As they continue to surge into their new era, the overall mood in the Body Type camp is one of optimism. Blackman says making ‘Expired Candy’ gave the band “a second wind”, and on a more personal level, reignited her love for making music: “I guess it just made me realise that there’s so much more we can do and learn together. [This album] represents quite a big shift for us, and it’s made me really interested again. Because I’ve always had this thing where I find it so hard to make music that I like for myself – but we’re gravitating closer to that point and that’s making me pretty happy.”
Coleman shares the sentiment, gushing that she’s “really loved listening back to this record, even recently” and holds it in high esteem for herself and her bandmates. “I’m just really proud of us,” she says in closing, “because I think we’ve worked through a lot of shit to make it here. We worked so fucking hard to do this record, so to get it done, to have it here, and to be playing songs off it live… I’m just so proud.”
The tracklist for Body Type’s ‘Expired Candy’ is:
- ‘Holding On’
- ‘Summer Forever’
- ‘Tread Overhead’
- ‘Sha La La’
- ‘Creation Of Man’
- ‘Miss The World’
- ‘Beat You Up’
- ‘Albion Park’
- ‘Expired Candy’
- ‘Dream Girls’
- ‘Shake Yer Memory’
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