'Welcome The Worms' by Bleached, album review

Dead Oceans



Welcome The Worms

Picture if you will, The Ramones in one car and The Runaways in another, hurtling down Route 66, tops down on the hot-rods as they pick up a hitchhiking Brody Dalle and The Buzzcocks on their reckless road trip down the USA’s most iconic strip of tarmac. Now reimagine that image as an album; the sound of youthful exuberance, wanton abandon and the place where pop and rock collide to make a joyous noise. For LP2 Bleached have opted to do away with the surf-rock of their debut ‘Ride Your Heart’ for a more direct, pedal to the metal charge through shiny, yet slightly tarnished garage-punk.

Urgency is a key factor to ‘Welcome The Worms’ unrelenting appeal; from its engine revving riffs, rubbery bass and propulsive drum licks that surround intoxicating vocal harmonies, Bleached have left little room to pause for breath. What the trio have managed to amalgamate with ease is the raw appeal of punk, rock ‘n’ roll’s hutzpah and a pop sensibility. ‘Welcome The Worms’ is the sound of a group playing without restriction and with confidence; it’s the sound of a gang. On the first few listens it’s easy to be drawn into the sugary fretwork and the scintillating vocal melodies but on repeated spins handclaps rise to the top as does the occasional trill of an organ.

Confidence is key to ‘Welcome The Worms’ even when some tracks hint at darker undertones. It’s this juxtaposition that gives the LA band’s new record strength and depth. ‘Trying to Lose Myself Again’ gestures towards a lost soul struggling in a crappy town messed up on drugs and casual sex but a defiant jab pierces through the potential downward spiral “don’t want to live my life/the way you think is right”. ‘Wasted on You’s pop-punk bombast is a coy middle finger into the face of a disinterested suitor “I can’t keep wasting my emotions on you-ooo-ooo/getting high off the drug that I call you-ooo-ooo”. “It’s really too bad to feel like walking death/but now my eyes are open wide” strikes a rebellious chord and a lipstick smeared kiss off on ‘Sleepwalking’. Darkness descends on the murky ‘Desolate Town’ which crops up towards the end of the trio’s LP; as if to represent the point in this sonic road trip where the sun goes down and the moonlight casts a sinister silhouette.

Time to call shotgun, this is one adventure you don’t want to miss.

Words and thoughts of Adam Williams