Does the current political landscape have you bummed? Has work turned into rote activity you’d rather turn over to a highly intelligent simian? Are you sick of TV and big budget blockbuster flops at the box office? Are you in need of a jolt to break you out of a summer funk? Why not save the money you’d spend on a couple fancy schmancy frozen coffee drinks and pick up Welcome the Worms by Bleached instead? This pop-punk album will make you far happier than any overpriced, super sweet, high fat drink you’ll regret when the sugar coma it provides makes you fall asleep at the wheel.
Bleached are sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin (lead vocals and guitar, respectively), Micayla Grace (bass), and Nick Pilot (drums). Welcome the Worms is a middle finger to living in L.A. when you’re not a movie star, bad relationships, and those who turn their backs on people who live on the fringe.
“Keep On Keepin’ On” bursts off the line with a cool psychedelic sound mixed with Sleater-Kinney anger. Jennifer Clavin throws down fierce vocals while Grace seems to be playing slap bass on a bass guitar. Jessica Clavin’s guitar sounds a bit like a warning siren at times, and Pilot kills it on the first song.
“Trying to Lose Myself Again” is about wanting to disappear in the chaos that is Los Angeles. “I’ve been hanging around this ugly town trying to find myself again…I’ve been getting high every night trying to lose myself again,” Jennifer Clavin sings. The glamour of L.A. hides misery for many, but Jessica Clavin’s guitar work is anything but miserable. It’s scorching.
“Sleepwalking” is a perfect metaphor for most of us shuffling around big cities in the daily grind. Jessica Clavin again shreds while Grace and Pilot seem to be racing each other throughout the track. “Wednesday Night Melody” is a great power-pop track that Weezer and Metric wish they could still produce.
“Wasted on You” is about the perils of dating musicians and has some of the snappiest beats from Pilot. “Chemical Air” reminds me of early New Pornographers with its bold vocals and big sound (especially Jessica Clavin’s cosmic guitar work). “Sour Candy” is reminiscent of early “bad girl” rock from the 1950’s in Jennifer Clavin’s vocals.
“Desolate Town” has appropriately desolate bass from Grace and slightly distorted vocals as Jennifer Clavin sings about the wasteland L.A. can be for those working in the non-glamorous jobs there. “I’m All Over the Place (Mystic Mama)” is part-trippy psych and part-post punk as Jennifer Clavin mourns a break-up (“I’m all over the place without you…”). It sounds like a rare Fuzzbox single.
“Hollywood, We Did It All Wrong” is the closer, and I’m not sure if Bleached thinks they screwed up living in Hollywood, or if they mean the whole town screwed up what could’ve been a cool thing. It’s a fun track either way.
It’s a fun record, too, even with some of the dark subject matter. The title comes from a weird religious pamphlet the band picked up in L.A. The title might refer to impending death, but at least Bleached is exorcising demons and having fun before they check out of here.
Keep your mind open.
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