Absurd is a difficult word to define, not simply because it’s an abstract adjective, but also because of its discordant connotations; it can be good or bad (or both). Still, most can agree that something absurd can be strange and amazing, if not preposterous—so amusing that it’s almost insulting. This may be the best word to describe Body Origami’s music, which has become more delicate and playful since the band’s debut EP Hadal in 2014, and especially their first full-length titled Bright and Only Mine.
In many ways, the Nashville, TN band resembles a surrealist painting—ominous, but never threatening; calm, but always troubled and antsy; fraught with the sort of intricacy and finesse that gets lost in the whole. “Naked Walk,” for example, hovers, its drums shuffling under Cody Merril’s shimmering flourishes, its guitars mumbling quietly beneath Evan Davis’s tightly folded voice. During the chorus, though, the song becomes a light-headed waltz, staggering just enough to remind listeners that the realities woven in these tracks are mirages, fragile and prone to warp in heat. “Sharp Light,” hushed and shadowy, is another such surreal track, as is “Prom Cream,” indeed a slow dance to sway to at the goblin’s ball.
Other parts of Bright and Only Mine feel like pop art—jittery with jumpy energy; bright and vibrant, but almost tired, almost mocking; complex in its simplicity. “Fan Dance” is all glimmer and breeze, its melody bending like silver clouds on the horizon line. Drummer Pete Wanca’s beat trolls steadily through the song, allowing Kyle Merriman’s guitars to resonate undisturbed. Two tracks later, on “Hammock Attack” Davis’s breathless voice bounces on his kicky bass rhythm, on the trampoline drumbeat, while Merril’s synth adds a shimmering ridge to each exhale, a purling texture to inhale. Though the song succumbs to stormy chords, its sunny mood lingers—until the next track, “River Deliverer,” a instrumental interlude born from the stutter and buzz of a restless listener changing channels.
See, Body Origami, even as a four-peice, knows how to fill their frame with melody and mood, with noise and found sound, with humor. Beyond this, it’s difficult to describe Body Origami’s sound—rock music, sure, maybe, but more fanciful and fun, and far more serious. Maybe this is why absurd seems like the only word to describe Bright and Only Mine, a record that veers indie rock down a dizzy, mysterious rabbit hole that it hasn’t explored before, one that’s as deep as it is beautiful, dark as it is alluring, menacing and enticing and rewarding.