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We Are Bodies: We Are Bodies

Archive man’s bleakly beautiful meditation on us, the wetware.

Of the two projects Archive’s stylish, thoughtful vocalist Dave Pen currently has on the boil, BirdPen may be the more progressive, but this one packs a real emotional wallop.

We Are Bodies is his collaboration with British-born, Brittany-based composer/multi-instrumentalist Robin Foster, and its name is highly apposite. Once again, folks, we’re the wetware, the cogs in their machine. Huxley’s Alpha/Gamma divide, Orwell’s Big Brother, these things never die, though their form changes, and every electronic swell, every sustained guitar line, Pen’s every line aches with the malaise of it. So goes the title track, ‘We drink and dance and pray and listen to Elvis’ to numb the pain. We’re ‘tired of their truth’ (Calling Out) though in War there is, maybe, hope (‘You can change everything, you decide’). Musically these are beautifully produced, modern minimal pieces. Foster aims for atmosphere over flash, and Pen’s working-class grit pitches it into the realm of Verve/Echo & The Bunnymen/British Sea Power. The sustained earnestness gets a little much after 12 tracks, but there’s something here for every body. More on BirdPen in the next issue…