AFI – Bodies
Released: June 11th, 2021
Davey Havok // Lead Vocals
Jade Puget // Guitar, Backing Vocals & Synth
Hunter Burgan // Bass & Backing Vocals
Adam Carson // Drums & Backing Vocals
I’ve been waiting so long for this, and the time is finally here- AFI are releasing their newest album, Bodies, and I was lucky enough to get to review it. So no further intro needed— let’s get into it. We’ve already heard seven of the eleven songs on the album, and it starts with ‘Twisted Tongues’, ‘Far Too Near’ and ‘Dulceria’. The low chanting, pounding drums from Adam Carson, and atmospheric feel of ‘Twisted Tongues’ is an excellent beginning to the album.
Most of Bodies has a very retro sound, with lots of synth parts and 80s sounding guitars and ‘Far Too Near’ has that exact feel. It’s really upbeat and fun and has funky bass grooves from Hunter Burgan. I’ve always loved the bass lines of AFI songs, but Hunter’s contributions on this album are next level!
As soon as I heard it, I was obsessed with ‘Dulceria’, and it is my absolute favourite on the album. That bass and the ultra-cool, periodic guitar strums are just so good. Also, the fact that this song is predominantly Adam, Hunter and Davey Havok’s incredible vocals makes it so sleek and cool. Then the chorus bursts in, and Davey’s voice is impressive as always. This album feels sleek, cool and adult to me— like the cool adult you want to be when you grow up, and ‘Dulceria’ is a prime example of that. It also has a really cool film clip which is described well by one of the comments under it on Youtube— “I literally just watched 5 minutes of Davey Havok picking up and throwing flowers in an aesthetic fashion, and I loved every second of it.”
Next up is ‘On Your Back ‘, one of the songs not released already, and it’s another upbeat, dancey, retro-sounding song with fantastic instrumentation and an exploding chorus. Then comes ‘Escape From Los Angeles’, another massive highlight for me. I absolutely love LA; for some reason, when I am there, I feel like I am home. The only other place I’ve felt like that in the world is Brisbane, Queensland, where I live now. This song gives me the same feelings as being in LA does, which is interesting because it’s a song about escaping from the city. Davey’s voice is rougher in this track which is an excellent thing. If this album is retro-sounding, then this song is the absolute pinnacle of the retro-ness. Jade Puget’s guitars have a fantastic fuzzy tone, and it has this incredible bridge. Such a great song! ‘Begging For Trouble‘ is next, and it has a classic AFI type of sound, but not a Sing The Sorrow, Decemberunderground classic sound- more a Blood album/Crash Love kinda feel,
As with every AFI release, their sound has evolved on Bodies and ‘Back From The Flesh’ is an AFI sound not really heard before, although it may have fit in on Burials. It is pretty minimal, has notes that are jarring and weird/slightly spooky backing female backing vocals. When I first heard it, I wasn’t sure about it, but it has definitely grown on me.
The funkiness kicks back in with ‘Looking Tragic‘, and it’s back to upbeat with super groovy bass. The guitars on this song, especially in the chorus, are a huge highlight. This is another song with a fantastic film clip- shit gets chaotic and it suits the song so well! ‘Death Of The Party’ and ‘No Eyes’ continue the upbeat, retro theme and then to finish the album comes ‘Tied To A Tree’. And what a different way to finish out the album.
This is an AFI sound that no one has heard before, and I can imagine there’d be people who, when they first heard it were like, “Mmmmm, I don’t know about this one”. I can fully admit I was one of those people. While prepping to write this review, I listened to it many times, and I can say that it has definitely grown on me like ‘Back From The Flesh’. Within the album’s context, it is fantastic and a really cool way to finish the album out. As a stand-alone song— I understand it’s a bit of a different time. How great is the chorus, though? So big and fuzzy with those booming drums and Davey’s soaring vocals. And then the contrast to the super quiet, unsettling verses— brilliant. Apparently, this song has an interesting film clip that is still to be released that I am really keen to see.
It’s interesting to reflect on this album in the context of AFI’s previous releases. It’s more retro, more synthy, has no screams at all from Davey and none of his infamous “ohs” — but it’s brilliant, and I really like it. Definitely go into it with an open mind and stop thinking ‘they’ve changed too much’. Bands should evolve – if they just kept doing the stuff they used to, even though you think you want that- you’d probably have gotten bored and given up on them already. Of course, you’re allowed to not like music, but if you write AFI‘s most recent releases off just because they sound different to older ones, you are missing out on incredible songs from fantastic musicians who have been a staple of the scene for almost as long as I have been alive. You’re allowed to not like it but at least give it a chance; you might be surprised at yourself.
AFI – Bodies tracklisting
1. Twisted Tongues
2. Far Too Near
4. On Your Back
5. Escape From Los Angeles
6. Begging For Trouble
7. Back From The Flesh
8. Looking Tragic
9. Death Of The Party
10. No Eyes
11. Tied To A Tree
Check out our interview with Jade Puget chatting all things Bodies and AFI’s evolution here