Here’s a back-handed compliment that’s going to sound a lot uglier than I mean it to: turn off your brain and listen to Wormburner. Roll the windows down, turn the radio up and rock out. They’re loud, they’re catchy, and they aren’t trying to be anything other than what they are—a fun power-pop band that your frat-boy brother would love to play at his next kegger. And I’m not being sarcastic in the least.
Their website calls them, “one of New York’s most exciting live bands,” and I can believe it. Check out “Muscle Car,” with its crowd-revving synth intro and lyrics that sound like something The Boss would’ve written in his Born to Run days. Try “Skinny Leather Tie” (mp3), with the ever-crowd-pleasing slight mention of drug use that inevitably makes crowds go crazy. And if you’re in the crowd when they play “Doctor’s Orders” and you don’t start thrashing your head back and forth, get lost and make room for the kids outside trying to get in.
There are throw-away tracks: “Ghosts of the Confederacy” is a silly attempt at crowd interaction, and you know it’s time to go get another beer when you hear “Forty Dollar Pricetag” kick in. But, as a whole, it’s a solid package and a fun night out. Most of the tracks are homage to a past when life was one-dimensional and seemed to begin and end with our own stupid problems. Or, as they say in “Skinny Leather Tie”, back when Beatles were alive.
Dave Lowery (Cracke, Camper Van Beethoven) produced A Hero’s Welcome, and it’s as much a “polished-with-the-right-amount-of-crunch” finish as you would imagine. At times, the mix sounds like Isolation Drills-era GBV, which can come off as repetitive, but is good for occasional listens and mix tapes.
Look, we’re not talking about the next Funeral here, but it’s a good album. Wormburner’s not trying to melt your brain or your heart; they’re just trying to let you have a good time without all the pretense that we’ve become accustomed to. Lose the attitude and check them out.
You can stream the whole record on the band’s site.