By Sam Tornow, Editorial Director
[Dead Oceans; 2016]
Key Tracks: “Keep On Keepin’ On,” “Chemical Air”
What do you get when you cross Puffy AmiYumi and Joan Jett? The world may never actually know, but Bleached’s new album, Welcome the Worms, may be the closest we ever get to finding out. Welcome the Worms is fast, fun, juvenile and a bit shallow, but still warrants a few spots on any punk’s summer playlist.
The opening track, “Keep On Keepin’ On,” is a perfect indicator of what the listener can expect throughout most of the album. The song features chanty vocals, a driving guitar and a synth line which is slightly reminiscent of the Teen Titans theme song. These same elements continue to pop up in next two tracks of the album. Initially, the energy keeps it interesting, but after 9 minutes of the same chords over and over it starts to lose its charm.
Luckily, after a few tracks, some variety is offered in the form of “Chemical Air.” The song puts vocals on the back burner, allowing the fantastic instrumentation to bleed through. As with most of the songs on the album, the bass is the real star of the show, driving away and keeping the listener locked in. An unfamiliar guitar solo soars near the end that takes the band into a more precise backing beat, making “Chemical Air” the most dynamic song on the album.
From here, the album begins to dip back into the same pattern exhibited on the opening tracks. There’s no doubting that the songs are catchy and enjoyable on their own, but it’s disheartening to hear such a promising sound beaten into the ground. If Bleached were willing to experiment, then a world of opportunity would surely open up to them.