Album Review: No One Deserves Happiness by The Body

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Even after a good 5 years of listening, The Body are a band that continue to confound me. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but more of a “I’ve listened to this album 50 times and still have no idea what the fuck is happening” kind of way. Their take on doom is usually buried underneath beats and noise, sometimes completely obscuring whatever “normal” instrumentation is taking place.

After a string of collaboration albums, most notably with Thou and Kreig, The Body are back with their first solo full length since 2014’s I Shall Die Here. No One Deserves Happiness is a mindfuck of an album.  Chip King and Lee Buford stated that they were out to make the “grossest pop album of all time”, and they’ve definitely achieved that in spades. Featuring a handful of tracks with Assembly of Light Choir’s Chrissy Wolpert on clean vocals, the album is a pretty weird mix of weird pop and The Body’s typical harsh noise laden doom. The combination almost seems at odds with one another, but after a few listens, No One Deserves Happiness starts to make sense.
Fittingly enough, the most interesting thing about the album are the more pop oriented tracks. Wolpert’s vocals are soothing and add a nice bit of beauty to the ugliness she’s singing over. A track like ‘Adamah’ wouldn’t seem out of place being sung by Bjork. Opening track ‘Wandering’ features a great duet, for lack of a better word, between Wolpert’s clean vocals and King’s buried shrieks. It makes for an interesting opener and definitely had me confused as to whether I had the right album or not for the first minute and a half.
But don’t let all of this talk about clean vocals and pop music fool you, this album is gnarly. The third track, ‘For You’, is the full mode ugliness that’s usually associated with The Body. It’s two and a half minutes of suffocating noise with a brief but welcome drum beat for about 30 seconds in the middle. It’s one of my favorite parts of the album and works as an excellent one-two punch with the following track, ‘Hallow/Hollow.’
Overall, the album works as a whole, but it definitely leaves me wondering how it would be taken if it was split into two EP’s, one for the more pop sounding songs and one for the heavier songs. Either way, fans of The Body won’t disappointed and No One Deserves Happiness adds a new aspect to The Body that should make their future interesting. Their mix of noise, doom, and industrial griminess works wonders when added to pop beats and clean vocals. I’d be really interested in hearing them record an entire album like the more pop oriented songs on No One Deserves Happiness.
Go into this album with an open mind. It’s disorienting and weird and often times wonderful. It’s an album that needs your full attention to pick out the subtle details within. Those willing and patient enough won’t be disappointed.
You can pre-order No One Deserves Happiness at The Body’s Bandcamp page HERE or a plethora of physical packages through Thrill Jockey HERE.
No One Deserves Happiness is out March 18.
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