The music takes inspiration from the physicality and repetition in electronic music, and the relentlessly propulsive sounds of the cityscape and cycling overground trains. The band was inspired by dance music and how it can be rebuilt, remixed, or broken down into the core elements that keep a song intact and incisive.
The resulting tautly-rhythmic, industrial chug of the music creates a bed for vocalist Cole Haden to lyrically explore – the city, and all of its dangers and temptations ooze through the lyrics: “And then it’s bleeding over / onto my jaw / onto my neck / onto the floor / pours out of my hands / seeps into the grass / running through the drains / swallowing the sun / giving it away cause I got what it takes” (“Slate”). Dogsbody plays with the duality of nature as being both ordinary and overwhelming: The thrumming of “Amaranth” describes an imaginary flower that never fades, and even as the city decays, Haden turns an evocative lens on his hope for its regeneration (“clear the moss from days dissolving and / see the petals stagger onto me”). It is akin to Pinocchio (if only he was gay living in a city and fighting an army of megazords) as a narrator trying to find himself amongst a series of circumstances that appear insurmountable at first; enemies and allies that are indistinguishable to his wide-eyed gaze.
Model/Actriz are known for their confrontational live shows, but the band’s performances, as well as Dogsbody itself, are really a portal of invitation and transcendence, a series of intimate moments shared between those attending. Haden has an avid interest in poetry, but at the same time finds comfort in utter transparency: “The less privacy I have, the more control I have in finding myself. When you leave things up to other people’s interpretations, you end up at the mercy of them,” he explains. Haden recalls nightly dreams that presented a parallel to a different life, “one where I shared it with someone who felt like the great love I yearn and hope to be destined for, and how the daily grief of finding myself alone every morning afterward eventually resulted in my habitual fear of sleep.” The record portrays these distortions of reality without obvious resolution, accelerating at breakneck speed before eventually dissolving into uneasy release.
In lead single “Mosquito,” Haden repeats over and over, “I want this life.” “I want to be a life band and not a fuck it all band,” he stresses. In seeking a certain permanence Haden cites the Tracy K. Smith poem ‘In the Largeness We Can’t See’,’ where Smith writes: “we move in and out of rooms, leaving our dust… all that we see / grows into the ground. Despite the rough edges of Dogsbody’s exterior, the weight of the music carries with it the reminder to care for yourself and the life you have the power to build. If you’re looking, vulnerable moments are scattered throughout the album, and Model/Actriz’s steadfast convictions often feel poetic in their heaving impact.