L.A. trio Flat Worms start things off right and proper on their first LP with the exhaust-choked grind of “Motorbike”. The standout single gets the record revved for what’s to come, which is full throttle, sandpaper-shorn guitar pop that’s rooted in a bruised and bloodied brand of ’90s alt rumble. Taken as a whole, which is honestly the best way to ingest this puppy, the record is breathless and beating down the highway, sparking adrenaline like so much petrol in the tank. The band knows how to cram a hook into the gnarled arms of middle-American angst and they know how to translate those hooks into songs that leave a mark.
That’s kinda the crux of the record, the band sweats out a mix of influences that all knew how to balance vein-ripped intensity with earworm dynamics. There’s bits of The Wipers’ bombastic shred, Hüsker Dü’s frayed reinterpretation of hardcore’s pounce and Mission of Burma’s grit-toothed whiplash. But, despite being built out of familiar forms, the record still stands tall on its own fuzz-addled foundation. The band tips the hat while proving they belong in the room with their heroes. I know that 2017 is a stuffed year, and we’re all working to pack in the praise on what stands out, but I find it hard to believe that this one is getting passed over. Or maybe I don’t, ha, the zeitgeist wave is cresting in all sorts of oblivious directions. Sometimes the good ones just get lost in the din. Either way, don’t miss this one.
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