For Fans Of
Their first record since coming out of a 2009 hiatus – hell, their first new material period in something like eight years – one may have wondered if homegrown punk veterans Bodyjar had gotten rusty in the time between inactivity and releasing new LP ‘Role Model‘. These are fears that can safely forgotten. The album demonstrates that the band are still in top form, with the same catchy choruses, hooks and accessible pop-punk energy that saw them become favourites back in the day.
Kicking off with ‘Petty Problems‘ and the album’s title track there’s little time for re-introductions; indeed, you’d barely believe the eight years in between had happened at all. That signature skate-punk guitar tone with memorable, melodic riffs, a tight, occasionally frenetic rhythm section, and frontman Cameron Baines‘ instantly recognisable vocals are a hearty welcome back, enough to put an immediate smile on the face of those well accustomed to the Bodyjar sound. What’s more, from a performance standpoint, the band themselves physically SOUND great, as full of vim and vigour as ever.
In saying that, there’s something lying under the surface that acknowledges that time HAS, in fact, passed. With the grace of time to reflect, the Jars have been able to take the best elements of past releases and combine them to great effect. The abrasive, edge of the band’s early work meets the poppier sensibilities of ‘How It Works‘. Tracks like early favourite ‘Strangehold‘ and lead single ‘Fairytales‘ have trademark melancholic stamina pushing them forward, but still feature the kind of choruses that ensure they’ll be sung along with gusto and smiles all around at live shows.
As far as lyrics are concerned, the same can be said about having time to grow and reflect. Baines still has a lot of the same fears and beleaguered underdog outlook that made prior albums resonate, but there’s a maturity here and a sense of quiet hopefulness lingering just underneath.
With ‘Role Model’, Bodyjar don’t do anything particularly ground-breaking, but if you grew up screaming along to ‘Not the Same’ and ‘One in a Million’, you’ll be quite aware there’s nothing wrong with that. Bodyjar know what their strengths are, and they’ve been cranking out infectious, fun punk gems for long enough to know that the formula works. ‘Role Model’ sounds exactly how a Bodyjar album should sound, in the way only they could create. It’s a refreshingly sincere, honest offering, especially when so many of their more modern ilk feel anything but.
1. Pretty Problems
2. Role Model
3. My Mistakes
7. Hope Was Leaving
8. Break This Feeling
9. Natural Selection
10. If This Is It
11. Together Alone