By Kennedy Pawluk
CALGARY – A new chapter in the history of southern Alberta post punk is written with the release of Body Lens’ new self-titled EP. Upon first listen, the Lethbridge band’s love of ‘80s new wave is palpable. The signature groovy rhythms of drummer Rebecca McHugh and bassist Brittney Ruston are synonymous to the original new wave era. These rhythms shine through while guitarists Benny Roy and Quinn Lee’s textural jangles harken more closely to their Canadian post punk contemporaries. Their sound comes full circle with singer Brandon Wynnychuk’s inimitable chanting yelps.
The EP opens with “Value,” arguably the album’s most upbeat number. The EP grows more cold and dissonant with track two, “Fixing,” but comes to a head at the end of side one with “Empty Space;” a lethargic slow whirr resembling stoned days where all you seek is a melancholy waste of time. Despite the track’s slow pace and drag, the track bears a tension reminding us of the bleak nature of the vast prairies.
Ruston describes the degree of influence the starkness of the prairies has on their music.
“The prairies have a totally different way of making you feel small. It gives you this feeling of emptiness,” says Ruston.
“I think it comes from this place of trying to be a beacon in this vast plain of nothingness. Trying to get these feelings out. I think there’s such an expanse to the prairies and there’s all this space. You can pretty much always here everything, even way off in the distance; you often hear the crashing of trains. I feel like that’s where a lot of this music comes from.”
Wynnychuk is quick to note, “You can look outside right now. It’s brown and grey and dirty and cold. It can be extremely bleak. I think listening to this music, this kind of stuff matches what we’re experiencing day to day.”
Overall Body Lens’ self-titled EP is a post-punk wave of conditions. There are ups that make you want to dance, lows that make you reach for catharsis and tensions that force an anxiety all too familiar. This record does exactly what a post punk record should do, it makes you feel.
Body Lens’ self-titled EP is streaming now on Bandcamp and is out on cassette via Terrific Kids on May 5 at The Slice (Lethbridge).Body Lens, Terrific Kids, The Slice