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Live Review: Body Type

1 July 2022 | 8:35 am | Christopher Lewis

"For an hour the Brunswick Ballroom was Melbourne’s answer to CBGB, a packed club with beer-stained walls and blistering punk music."

(Pic by Ellen Virgona)

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“Hi, we’re Body Type. We put out a record recently and we’re going to play it from start to finish for you.”

Why don’t more bands touring their first album do this? The songs were placed on the record in a specific order for a reason, playing it top to bottom seems like a no-brainer.

That record, Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing's Surprising is destined to appear on every album of the year list in the country. It’s everything great indie rock music can be. It’s caustic, but melodic, angry and rabble-rousing, but joyous and celebratory. Jonathan Boulet – who knows a thing or two about brilliant debut albums – engineered, mixed and mastered it with an unfiltered raw edge that makes you feel like the band are plugging in their amps next to you. And there’s an urgency and contagious energy to the songs that make you want to scream every lyric. 

And to celebrate it they stood under the old disco ball of Brunswick Ballroom, in front of a sold-out crowd and what looked like a bedsheet with "BODY TYPE" scrawled on it (very DIY punk of them) plastered on the wall behind them. The band opened with the repeated call/response First Nations declaration of “always was, always will be” before launching into track one of Side A: The Line, a song that slowly builds tension before exorcising itself through Sophie McComish’s wailing guitar. She might be the best guitarist in Australia and she struts the stage.

On The Charm, a song written about male misogyny in the Australian music industry, McComish spits her words out as a defiant middle finger before launching into a hypnotic guitar solo, revelling in the glory of it all and holding up her axe. You’d scoff if it wasn’t so fucking cool. 

Playing the album in order does highlight one overlooked quality of Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing's Surprising, which is its tonal balance. Playing three to four incandescent punk songs in a row would result in diminishing returns and playing the brooding slow-burners side by side would ruin their effect. But this album is incredibly well weighted and allows the band to cycle through poppier moments like Flight Path where we can smile about them stealing a pen from the Chateau Marmont before returning to the themes of the aptly titled Sex & Rage. Not only does it show off their dexterity in sound, but it also means the mood never drags across their set.

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McComish, Annabel Blackman and Georgia Wilkinson-Derums' vocals are at once raucous and passionate, bouncing off each other with ease. You could throw a lot of hyperbolic comparisons their way. Futurism has the jangly surf scuzz of early Best Coast, the way their guitars interlock and then deconstruct is reminiscent of Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and they have the same punk spirit as The Coathangers.

To continue to use superlative adjectives to describe their gig seems a bit redundant. They played through their new album with unbridled joy and then a bunch of fan favourites, including Palms that had the crowd in raptures. For an hour the Brunswick Ballroom was Melbourne’s answer to CBGB, a packed club with beer-stained walls and blistering punk music. What more do you want?

Written by Christopher Lewis