Bleached - Welcome the Worms - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bleached - Welcome the Worms

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:6 Release Date:2016-04-04

Welcome the Worms, the second album from LA’s Bleached – sisters Jessica and Jennifer Clavin on vocals and guitar, and bassist Micayla Grace, (Marc Jordan plays drums) - left me feeling a bit troubled.  

The ingredients are certainly present: thumping bass, strong and steady, no-frills drumming, fuzzy power chords, and plenty of anthem-like choruses. It’s just that something felt incomplete. Having heard some of their previous material, I was really looking forward to this album, which makes my consternation even more pronounced.

There are moments where the magic pulled me in; 'Sour Candy' and 'Wasted on You', are smart pop punk beauties, and current head pounding single “Wednesday Night Melody” opens with an L7 thunder before giving way to a poppy chorus, “Come on boys, dry your eyes. It’s good to feel just a little alive. Drag the needle on a groove today and waste away, yeah waste away.” These songs will stick around in my daily rotation for a long while.

Yet, the rest of the album felt a bit flat and repetitive. Even with a production team that has worked with big time artists (Elton John, The Strokes, and Paramore), the songs seem to lack polish and the songwriting maturity that pops up just enough to leave me feeling frustrated at what might have been…or perhaps, merely what I wanted.

Moreover, I’ll admit that the cranked up hype machine set expectations too high; the band pimped to be the next indie flavor du jour, with the same few paragraphs of band bio and mission statement popping up everywhere I turned, making all praise seem trendy instead of honest. Regardless, with so much buildup, unfair or not, anything short of a modern masterpiece was going to leave me feeling underwhelmed. And that self-fulfilling prophecy is exactly what happened.

It’s difficult to be objective with art and our first impressions aren’t always the lasting ones. Maybe in time I’ll come to like this release more than I do now. They have a great reputation for putting on an awesome show, and I might see if I can catch their tour when it stops in D.C. in a few weeks. For now, however, my opinion of this release is that of jeweled moments of greatness wrapped in Styrofoam peanuts of mediocre. 

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