Cut Worms : Cut Worms

Avatar photo
Cut Worms review

On the new self-titled album from Cut Worms, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Max Clarke draws the listener in from the jump. Here, the artist explores what he calls “pop essentialism,” digging into the past for classic sounds and shaking them up a bit. Joined by keyboardist John Andrews, bassist Keven Louis Lareau, and drummer Noah Bond, Clarke also takes on a more homegrown feel with this project; it doesn’t sound overly produced or edited, much more laidback but full of energy.

Within that first track, “Don’t Fade Out,” it’s hard not to be hooked immediately. Over Clarke’s dusky voice, the group builds out a certain British invasion atmosphere (think “For Your Love” by The Yardbirds or “Bus Stop” by The Hollies). But the twang of country gives the style a nice twist—more contemporary, even—an interesting fusion to be sure. The song’s danceable and lively, but not overloaded with saccharine.

Clarke’s pop songwriting instincts result in material that’s often quite catchy. A sadness or gloom—as if he were a movie cowboy in a saloon—pervades his songs, though they’re not morose. It’s like a bit of rain that you know will make your garden grow stronger in the long haul. And “Ballad of the Texas King” further varies his sound, countryfied with that classic pedal steel guitar that you hear so often in the compositions of Emmylou Harris and next-generation artists such as Doris Freeman alike.

The songs on Cut Worms are romantic at heart, really. Clarke is a sunset lover, a smooth talker who’s also sorta sad. On “Is It Magic?” he once again rekindles that ’60s vibe, but more Beach Boys than Herman’s Hermits. Yet Clarke keeps his country twang, and this allows an intriguing blend to blossom in this sonic space, a glue that solidifies Cut Worms’ aesthetic.

Cut Worms is a phenomenal release that is energized by Clarke’s upbeat approach and balanced by the wavering effects in play—as if the summer heat is getting to them. It is, after all, a summertime album, for long days that give way to hot nights and the booze keeps flowing from the friendly barman who knows your name. It captures a feeling—a sense of time and place.

Label: Jagjaguwar

Year: 2023

Similar Albums:

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top