Release date: August 25, 2017
Woolworm, recently signed to local label Mint Records, is set to release their second LP, Deserve to Die. Fans of the band needn’t fear a sophomore slump; this is a cracking album from start to finish.
Recorded and produced by Jesse Gander, Deserve to Die serves up 10 polished, brooding but somehow also uplifting songs. Woolworm is “the best band in Vancouver,” according to Hygiene singer Kevin, and this LP only strengthens that claim.
The opening track, ‘Unwise,’ stumbles into shoegazing life after a long, feedback-laden intro, setting up the themes of the album. Nihilistic, dirge-like vocals contrast with surprisingly upbeat, poppy melodies.
After ‘Unwise,’ the following tracks get progressively more upbeat, increasing the contrast between the lyrics and the tune. For much of the album, if you didn’t understand the lyrics, you could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to catchy, fun 90’s pop rock.
Musically, Woolworm channels the best of the Smiths’ dreary-yet-catchy pop sound, as well as hints of the Stone Roses. Giles Roy’s vocal delivery is not dissimilar from that of Ian Brown, albeit without the Madchester swagger. Where Brown told us, “I wanna be adored,” Roy sings, “I can’t help but envision myself in the ground.”
For my money, Deserve to Die‘s standout track is ‘Catbird.’ The song roars into life and feels triumphant after the previous songs’ build-up. It is also a prime example of what Woolworm does best, that dichotomy between bleak lyrics/vocals and chirpy pop melodies.
You should also go to Woolworm’s LP release show at the Biltmore with Dead Soft and Feral Positions on August 24.