I haven’t written one of these posts for a while. Well, I did say it was an occasional series. But, you know, it’s the Christmas holiday and I’m off work and I’m kind of at a loose end…
Anyway, Bleached. ‘Welcome the Worms’ is a great record. It came out in 2016. I already had their first album which I thought was decent, it had some good songs on it. It was a little rough in places, but I had a feeling they were going to be one to watch. And I wasn’t wrong because this next release was an absolute belter. Absolutely my favourite record of the year. I reviewed it on Amazon which you can probably go and look at on the product page if you were even remotely interested in doing so.
So first, before I even talk about the music, I wanted to share the cover art which is think is brilliantly understated and retro: the font, the faded colour, the washed out band photo. Why aren’t all album covers like this? Even new it looks like it’s dusty and has been sat on the shelves of a second hand record store since 1976.
I also wanted to gloat slightly about the limited edition vinyl version I found of this in my local record store. Two tone, black and white vinyl, with a nice bleed of the colours which makes it look like it was homemade. I dunno why, I just really like that.
Anyway, enough of the aesthetics. You want to know if it sounds good. And believe me, it does, really really good. The opening track has a brilliant ’80’s underground sound to it, reminds me of indie radio back in the day. There’s a repetitive guitar riff in it which works – it could get irritating in the wrong hands, but here it just drives the track on and on relentlessly. It’s no great surprise the band thought running, just running, constantly running, would be a good visual accompaniment for the video. Well, that, and inexplicably sorting out their laundry. So here’s that:
Then there’s ‘Sleepwalking’ which has probably the best bassline I’ve heard in over twenty years. Seriously. It’s incredible. Don’t believe me? Oh ye of little faith. It reminds me of early metal, very very early Iron Maiden or Deep Purple. Not the overall track, just the production on the bassline.
There are, in fact, a lot of influences at play on this record. The little sticky label on my vinyl copy, hand written by the record store owner, mentioned the Go-Gos and Joan Jett amongst others. And it is absolutely possible to hear echoes of these throughout. Along with the aforementioned early Metal influences, and punk, obviously punk. The whole thing is dressed up in an energetic, sunny west-coast garage punk style. Very loud, rough around the edges, melodic, doesn’t give a shit. It wears its irreverence on its sleeve. Should we incorporate a little bit of the Ramones? Why the hell not? Bung it in there, let’s have some fun goddamnit.
And if you think that isn’t enough, then how about a homage to early SubPop? How about a track that sounds a bit like Hole with elements of Nirvana and Mudhoney?
You need to own this record, I promise you. I know it’s a bit late for Christmas, but you know, you might still have some music vouchers or something. Or if, like me, it’s your Birthday at the beginning of January you might still have a chance to drop some hints to your loved ones. Failing that, just go out and buy it yourself. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to prepackaged fun.