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CD of The Week

Week of 4/04/16

    Bleached - Welcome the Worms (Dead Oceans)

    Bleached’s sophomore album, Welcome the Worms, is what happens when the creative backbone of a band trades in their Black Flag, Minor Threat and The Slits influences for Joan Jett, Fleetwood Mac and Heart. Gone are the riot punk Mika Miko days of singer Jennifer Clavin shouting into a telephone alongside her sister/bandmate Jessie Clavin. But those elements are not necessarily forgotten.

    Welcome the Worms was forged from the flames of an eviction and an eye-opening romantic split. The sisters came together, traveled out of Los Angeles’ influence to Joshua Tree, and immersed themselves in writing music. Over the album’s run, themes of reflection, self-loathing and accepting life’s darkest times all bubble to the surface. Using that atmosphere, they side-stepped from 2013’s Ride Your Heart and its beach rock sound and created grittier, darker and driving rock. The album feels like it could be the soundtrack behind one long training montage scene.

    Lead single “Keep On Keepin’ On” starts off with a whirlwind of drum kicks, driving guitars and echoing vocals that sets the album’s tone. This is not an album to enjoy sitting still. While catchy, stuck-in-your head choruses fill nearly every song, “Sour Candy” is the standout track. It features poignant lines like “What in the world was I thinking when I said Hello?” and a delightfully empowering sing-along hook for the chorus full of motivational changes.

    The album ends with two tonally darker songs “Desolate Town” and “I’m All Over the Place (Mystic Mama),” but wraps with a fuzzy, upbeat Ex Hex style song in “Hollywood, We Did it All Wrong.” The power-pop number condenses the album’s sentiment into one nice, neat ‘The More You Know’ message: reconcile youthful choices in a positive, light-hearted fashion. The sisters have come out looking at life as half full, and they are willing to Welcome the Worms that inevitably win in the end. Reminisce about your lost days at the roller-rink or mall arcade with them and the fittingly named No Parents at Johnny Brenda’s on April 14th.
    Review by Shepard Ritzen

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