Cut Worms - Alien Sunset EP

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-10-20
Cut Worms - Alien Sunset EP
Cut Worms - Alien Sunset EP

The last time that a set of demos stuck in my memory was when somebody decided to issue Plush’s More Becomes You almost twenty years ago. A similar thing is going on with the new Cut Worms album. Max Clarke, or Cut Worms, collected two sets of demos he did in Chicago and New York and handed us this longish EP under the title Alien Sunset. We can only guess why this title since Clarke is an obviously well-read man - he picked up his artistic moniker from one of  William Blake’s poems, “The cut worm forgives the plow.”

You see, there’s nothing really alien here as far as the music is concerned. Clarke re-visited the late Fifties and early Sixties of guys like Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, and early Beach Boys with a hefty dose of melancholia. The manner in which he has done that just makes you say thanks he has done it!

Clarke has an almost perfect sense of melody that turns these songs into something completely his own, not at any moment sounding like a pastiche of any era, no matter how much inspiration he draws from a particular one. “Don’t Want To Say Goodbye” and “Alien Sunset” might be demos, but some aspiring pop stars would be really proud to have them as finished tracks on their multi-selling albums. “Like Going Down Sideways” is a ballad that has dual tempos and multi-tracked vocals that really don’t need any additional production to work.

“A Curious Man” adds a subtle country/blues element, something the great Everly Brothers did too, while “Widow’s Window” is a straightforward ballad that is a showcase for lyrics. Speaking of which, obviously Clarke has quite a bit to offer - the closer “Song of the Highest Tower” was seemingly written the day Lou Reed died, and is an adaptation from Rimbaud’s “A Season In Hell.”

Quite hefty stuff for a set of demos that on its surface only seem to be a set of romantic Fifties/Sixties retreads. If this is the stuff Clarke did in his living room, what will he come up with when he hits the studio proper?

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