Cut Worms - Hollow Ground

by Nathan Fidler Rating:8 Release Date:2018-05-04
Cut Worms - Hollow Ground
Cut Worms - Hollow Ground

If you’re searching for an album to have on repeat when summer rolls around one week this year, you won’t go far wrong with Cut Worms and their album Hollow Ground. Max Clarke, based in New York, has tweaked and perfected his sound from last years’ short album.

Somewhere between The Everly Brothers and The Kinks, Cut Worms takes British invasion delivery of vocals and mixes them with a more European sounding 50s and 60s rock n roll. ‘Coward’s Confidence’ has the deep belching of horns along with the sway, like a love song to play outside your girlfriend’s diner. Elsewhere, ‘Cash For Gold’ has the deliberately dragged strum you’d associate with the beach, as Max asks “tell me what I’ve gotta do to let me touch you”.

The key thing about this album is that while the chorus sections are catchy, the verses are just as sticky when you’re fondly recalling the tracks. ‘Till Tomorrow Goes Away’ leans on French-jazz acoustic for a backdrop, with quaint fairground keys reverberating later on. They’re are some tracks which would have slid nicely into any of Wes Anderson’s early films, such as ‘Don’t Want To Say Good-bye’ and ‘How It Can Be’ both with their 60s charm, and you’ll find yourself nodding away too.

Stylistically, most of the tracks might seem derivative of some bygone 20th Century decade, but they’re so perfectly executed - and there isn’t anyone else around who has done it quite as well as this - that all is forgiven. Clarke’s voice suits the sound he’s cultivated so well, there must be some specific vocal recording technique used to achieve this, but the delivery is key too. ‘It Won’t Be Too Long’ doesn’t employ anything flash, and if anything the chorus feels triumphant for it’s simple, repeated melody marching around your mind.

While this kind of music isn’t going to run rings around the charts, the more you listen the more you notice the little touches and the perfection of the sound. ‘Hang Your Picture Up To Dry’ edges towards country, with a lilting bass and the verse line repeating, almost at a yodel, before a descending, deeper line.

The style isn’t static, and that’s partly what helps keep your interest from track to track. Clarke moves around in his own world, thematically linked with forlorn and yearning lyrics, but all without the modern trappings of overkill we normally see employed to convey an emotion.

Hopefully there is more to come from Cut Worms, they feel like the kind of band who will switch their style up and play around more with genres than others might.

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