Provoker - Body Jumper Music Album Reviews

Provoker - Body Jumper Music Album Reviews
Filled with muted vocals and no wave melodies, the Bay Area group’s debut album uses 1980s horror tropes and video games to reflect on contemporary alienation.

By the time musician Jonathan Lopez and vocalist Christian Petty crossed paths at a screening of the 2016 black comedy horror film, The Greasy Strangler, Provoker was already Lopez’s side project—an outlet he conceived in hopes of composing film scores—and Petty had been making R&B music of his own. After bringing bassist Wil Palacios and drummer Kristian Moreno into the fold, and releasing the EP Dark Angel in 2018, Lopez and Petty built up a fanbase on Instagram from scratch. Once their online aesthetic was realized, and COVID-19 halted the band’s 2020 North American tour, the Bay Area distortion bros attempted to become modern translators of anguish and torment in the digital age. Filled with muted vocals and no wave melodies, their debut album, Body Jumper, uses 1980s horror tropes and video games to reflect on contemporary alienation.

Made up of Lopez’s cultural mementos and Petty’s sometimes overwrought collection of 1980s motifs, the record fortifies itself with the past in order to engage with the present. The cover art looks like a still pulled from Videodrome or The Fly, and each song summons an accompanying car chase across a glistening cityscape. When Petty introduces warped vocals to the sinister backing tracks (made up of an amalgam of metal, punk, and UK trip-hop), he conjures visions of Echo and the Bunnymen in a mosh pit full of E-boys.

The characters on the album are all projections of one person playing a video game, and each song is a new level with different faces but identical consequences. It’s jarring to see each transition accumulate torments that grow more sinister with each pop hook. “Blue Sheen” meditates on losing faith in one’s ability to love another person; “Bugs and Humans” oscillates between the perspective of a child and his adult self, mourning the mistakes that come with growing up. Both songs race slurring vocals across a blistering drum machine, creating the illusion that our narrator is tethered to the front seat of a sports car in Gran Turismo but can’t help looking back.

The album revolves around a set of back-to-back tracks. On “Rose in a Glass,” Petty tells the story of a detective combing a noir-soaked city for a missing person; there is no happy ending, only an unresolved swelling tension. We transition then to the slow dissociation of “Spell Strike,” where the character’s defeatism takes shape as an RPG in a final level fight with an evil fairy boss, lamenting a metaphorical unrequited love. The two protagonists are the same, in that they are fighting against emotional turmoil, each transition relaying the transgressions of Petty’s own apathy under the disguise of different skins.

By focusing on the plights of fictional characters—private investigators, Undertale lookalikes, elven warriors, NPCs—Petty interrogates the limits of technological immersion and how it affects our perception. “Still I can’t compute your love/An illogical surrender/For me I’m just a computer/I receive I’m not the sender,” he sings on “NPC,” pivoting the focus onto the private lives of non-player characters. By pinning inadequacy onto them, Petty’s lyricism evokes a devastation that is familiar to the players we control as well. He covers similar territory on “Spawn Kill,” growing despondent at the fatality of in-game, multiplayer rebirth. What’s the use of eternal return if you are only going back to die again? That torture is hidden behind the metaphors on Body Jumper, even in their redundancy. Once you’ve waded through the muck of familiar gaming buzzwords and imagery, you’ll find Petty’s songwriting cleverly taking aim at despair and self-flagellation through bodies with infinite lives.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Provoker - Body Jumper Music Album Reviews Provoker - Body Jumper Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 30, 2021 Rating: 5


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