Available on: Hippos in Tanks EP
Autre Ne Veut’s self-titled album last year was a minor masterpiece: the sound of teen memories layered up and crudely compressed into an undercooked lasagne of late nights spent listening to chart pop on a Walkmen, torturing yourself over the girl or boy you couldn’t get, and Cruel Intentions. On Body, he’s taken this perverse approach to pop music and twisted it even further.
If you’ve heard Autre Ne Veut, then you won’t find much that surprises you about Body. It’s a natural step up, with clearer production and mastering values that, rather than strip the music of its personality and sensibility, accentuate those squeamish harmonic clashes that make Autre’s sound so irresistible. In many ways, it’s a more powerful record than ANV, with more punishing backing and some extreme moments of attention to detail: flickers of texture and subdued squeals that you only consciously pick up on when you really listen.
But while it is a step up, it’s also familiar: both in Autre’s voice, which is one of the most distinctive assets of any modern American pop artist, and the songwriting, which sticks in your head to the point where it’s easy to convince yourself that these must be covers. In short, it’s the sound of a great modern artist getting better, with a vagina (kind of) on the sleeve.