I’ve long had a soft spot for RVG. The Australian band digs into a strain of New Wave that glimmers with an enticing darkness. The band’s last few outings were albums for shutting out the world, their latest ups the ante by shutting down the deluge of social stimuli that seem to creep into our conciseness even when the doors are already locked. It used to be that drawing the drapes and unplugging the landline was enough to cut the cord, but the wires wind thick these days and it’s harder than ever to shutter the soul. Brain Worms ruminates on isolation while yearning for connection, desperation while seeking acceptance. Hung on the power and poise of Romy Vager’s voice, thee album soars through the speakers as confident and crushing as any of the band’s past works.

Hung on the same iridescent ache that informed indispensable works from Echo and the Bunnymen, Kate Bush, Siouxsie, The Psychedelic Furs, and Talk Talk, the record rifles through discomfort, an inner itch that refuses to resolve. Scenes of sour endings, body horror hallucinations, Skype funerals, Astrology, and the inexorable toxicity that infects our every thoughts, permeate the record. Vager remains one of rock’s most enigmatic voices — her powerful delivery nailing every knotted emotion into the listener with a razor-tipped precision. The band expands the aural landscape behind her, widening their already gorgeous vistas from Feral, letting synths mingle with strings and opalescent guitars slice the skin atop the taut rhythm section. Were it a different world, this would be the soundtrack to the omnipresent angst in the turbulence of the ‘20s, but let’s just hope that those with the ripest wounds find it in time to stem the tide.

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