Cut Worms is a little band that was based out of Chicago, but recently frontman Max Clarke moved to New York where the project will be based out of going forward.
Cut Worms’ latest release At Home has the band sounding like they’d be playing in a garage converted to look like an ironic 50s malt shop rather than the Empty Bottle. The combination of crunchy lo-fi guitar and retro melodies pays off big time, and doesn’t feel forced or kitschy at all. Each track on the release has a distinct feel and sound while remaining coherent.
Again, I can’t mention the lack of affectation enough; Cut Worms’ sound is clearly throwing back to that early rock aesthetic, but minus all the cringey “Please Mr. Postman” stuff. The lyrics help maintain this distance. While they can at times be a bit vague and non-universal, they come off as genuine. The vocal tone is integral to this; like the old school melodies played all low-fi and punky, the vocals keep that sing-songy rhythm of early 50s rock, but have an almost Naked Raygun sort of tinge to them. It’s hard to recommend a single track off At Home to check out, since each one is different enough to warrant advocating. “Cash For Gold” is my personal favorite off the EP, but it’s definitely worth listening to all the way though.
The only real concerns are what Cut Worms’ limitations are with this sound and style. By the end of the six-track EP, I found myself wanting more, but at the same time I wasn’t convinced I’d want listen to multiple albums of this same sound. It definitely leaves you looking forward to see what these guys can do in the future, and hoping to be pleasantly surprised.