Monday, 1 June 2015
EXCLUSIVE STREAM - Worm Crown's Debut LP Trauma
Super excited to open up the week, and June (winter in Australia, summer here in Europe), with an exclusive listen to the debut album from Melbourne scuzzrats Worm Crown. Ever since bassist Andrew contacted me about getting shows in Brisbane a couple years ago, I've been keeping a close eye on these guys. The tenaciousness and feverish desperation that accompanies these bursts of fetid noise are what makes Worm Crown a frightening prospect - from Dasyi's eye-rolling trance and spit-flecked yowls, Seb's sinew-stretching stints behind the kit, Andrew yoyoing between contempt and glee, a schizophrenic metronome. A show in Melbourne last year saw the trio become a duo due to an illness with Seb, and the decrepit drum machine that took his place called it quits a few songs in. Katie (Deep Heat/Shaking Hell) gamely stepped in and took the show in a new direction, but the nihilistic effort that oozed forth in those first songs was the kind of gritty anguish and ambiguous anger that I simply cannot get enough of.
Trauma, recorded by Simon Cotter at Headgap Studios, is a record that extends these notions, tempering the serration with moments of measured madness. Kicking off with fit-inducing drumbeat, bleeding in feedback squall and then a thick, dirty bassline, Dasci's vocals suitable stripped from his oesophagus in unkempt rage, 'No Glamour' is quintessential Worm Crown. (I have always found the word 'baby' said in anger, anguish or pain is hilarious, for whatever reason - as is the case here). 'Organism' steps the fever up a notch, and I felt transported out of the inner suburbs of Melbourne and in the winter climes of Berlin - this isn't post punk, but there is a seasonal freeze embedded within here, the night and the desperation, that European landscapes can easily evoke. 'Pacific Drift' is more sinuous in its fever; 'Limbless' continues this downward spiral. 'Hollow' shows the slow build of insanity before the catastrophic meltdown, which occupies half the song. Which sees a turning point in the record - 'Reliever Deceiver' is a slowly coiled boiler, the inexorable fall from grace that lingers in the blood; 'Retire' is a punk relic, Dasci barking syllables, yet it is all relatively muted, the bass strangely at the forefront, almost poppy in its addictiveness. 'Nine' (the eighth track here) is a lengthy number that barely shifts from its unkempt intensity, a six minute exercise in pressurised endurance. 'Sunlight' pricks this bubble, the more frenetic unleashing of anguish a welcome return. 'Teen Life' somehow simultaneously plods through a sea of evisceration and does it in under two minutes - the fury unbridled yet also maintained. 'Ritual' picks up the pace with the intensity before the devastating title track ties things up in a bloody bow.
Bands like Yes I'm Leaving and Sour Cream from Sydney and God Bows to Math in Auckland are probably the closest contemporaneous comparisons to be made to these guys, but Worm Crown will stick out like a diseased thumb no matter how many of their peers' bodies you pile them under. Trauma is exactly that - an exercise in tension, anxiety and desperation - but on that you come out of grinning fearlessly, cracked teeth and bloodied mouth, no longer of sound mind, and proud never to turn back.
Worm Crown launch Trauma Saturday June 6 alongside The Kremlings, Plyers and Cosmic Kahuna at Yah Yah's.