AFI have largely thrived on unpredictability. Emerging onto the vibrant punk scene in the mid ‘90s and landing somewhere between traditional and skate varieties, it was their switch to gothic theatrics that landed them widespread acclaim. At the time, the jump from 2000’s ‘The Art Of Drowning’ to the platinum selling ‘Sing For Sorrow’ surprised and divided, yet would quickly signify the band’s willingness to break convention. It’s a theme that has since defined their career, embraced by the burgeoning emo scene for ‘Decemberunderground’, and reaching the top of the Stateside alternative chart with 2017’s self-titled Blood Album.
‘Bodies’, the band’s eleventh studio album, is testament to both their longevity and their adaptability. Although not a huge departure from their previous release, it forges together the various elements of AFI’s past into a remarkably coherent package. Led by Davey Havok’s distinctive vocals, the band lean heavily on ‘80s new wave and their punk foundations. The record’s highly polished production pulls it together, colliding both worlds on the likes of the rapid ‘Begging For Trouble’ and ‘Looking Tragic’. ‘Death of The Party’ owes much to ‘80s stalwarts. Both ‘Dulceria’ and the brilliantly melodramatic ‘Tied To A Tree’ present the unique balladry that AFI have perfected across the last decade.
Aware of the risk of their transient nature, ‘Bodies’ sees AFI find the sweet spot between evolution and consistency. In fully embracing theatrics, their new wave leanings, and the unquestionable punk legacy, the band have landed on a sound both contemporary and unmistakably theirs.