VANCOUVER – Dark and brooding, smart and somehow mysteriously poppy; until now Woolworm has always been a happy little secret in the Vancouver music community. Their new album, Deserve To Die, is being released this month via Mint Records and it won’t be long before the rest of the world takes notice. Recorded at the Hive in Vancouver by the incomparable Jesse Gander, all ten tracks shine with a newfound level of polish and professionalism that make this pleasantly cynical four-piece come to life in a way we’ve never really heard before. Everyone at BeatRoute loves this record so much that we thought it would be cool to reach out to some key players in the local music scene to see what they thought. Here’s a track by track synopsis of Deserve To Die that is making us and everyone we talked to very happy to be alive. Give it a spin and see for yourself!
Reviewed by: Andrea Demurs – Glad Rags
“Unwise” opens Woolworm’s Mint Records debut like a yawning beast with feedback and slow, deliberate guitar. You’re being invited to cross the threshold into Deserve to Die’s landscape, which is gloomy like a warm summer sky that suddenly turns quiet and heavy. Once the drums kick in, you are fully in the world Woolworm have built with the opposing forces of longing and dread. You are cursed to feel the weight of the future, and it takes the form of surprising musical contrasts: hopeful melodies and bright harmonies that are nested between passages of lyrical pessimism and bitter distortion. Palindromic, the song ends the way it started, feedback ringing out like wet pavement after sudden rain.
Reviewed by: Adam Fink – Gang Signs/Girlfriends and Boyfriends
Ah the second track. That’s the true test of an album. Sure “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a great song but “In Bloom” was the real hit. While “Seer”, the second track off of Woolworm’s Deserve To Die, may only clock in at just two minutes, it certainly makes the most of its limited time. Shrugging off the rush of feedback that closes out album opener “Unwise”, “Seer” kicks things into gear with a steady drumbeat before the guitars really set the track into motion. Expounding on the album’s overall theme of DEATH, vocalist Giles Roy lets us know, “It’ll happen to you, it’ll happen to those that you love” but it’s not mean spirited or even angry, it’s sung as bluntly as possible. It’s exciting when a band doesn’t pander and Woolworm certainly do not which is one of the qualities that help make “Seer” a second track all-timer.
Track: Judgement Day
Reviewed by: Brad Wilde – If We Are Machines
Some part Jimmy Eat World, some part Dinosaur Jr, I’m transported to the best bike ride I ever had. I’m riding with my pals down to the beach and right into the ocean. We just float in the waves until the tide rolls us back onto the shore. When I listen to this song I feel calm, centered, happy but also a little introspective. It’s so consistent with its driven rhythm it would be impossible to not dance a little with “Judgement Day” blasting through your headphones. I’m smiling right now.
Track: Come With Me In
Reviewed by: Jovana Golubovic
A gentle melody ebbs and flows in a duet of guitars whose scratchy distortion lends the charm of a fuzzy radio. An intimate interlude, no drums, over as quickly as it came like a brief romance or a passing cloud. The elusive form and simple instrumentation is striking on its own, but the best part is the chord change into the song’s second section, framing the title line, “Come With Me,” with anguish and satisfaction at once. It is the music of a midsummer night I am already nostalgic for as I listen with all the windows open in late July.
Track: Sun Rock
Reviewed by: Sam Hawkins – Dead End Drive-In
For a record so obsessed with self-destruction, “Sun Rock” strikes me as a bit subdued. Rather than dive headfirst into reasons why we deserve to die, Woolworm grapple with issues of self-doubt and decision-making. Believe me, it’s still pretty bleak. Beneath frontman Giles Roy’s heavy hearted hollering, one can hear a last shred of hope. Sounding something like a modern-day Morrissey, he pokes and prods at an unknown audience, voice undulating like ripples on the water. It’s dark and dazzling, depressed and danceable. Three thumbs up.
Track: Deserve to Die
Reviewed by: Evan Wansbrough – The Isotopes
It’s dark, and personal, and what you might have called “emo” 15 years ago (If I had to compare it to something else – which I don’t, by the way – I’d say Hole meets Jawbreaker) but it’s got this particularly interesting part in the hook that sort of makes you want to smile. It goes: “And I deserve to die” *happy chord change* “And I’ve earned it, believe me.” It’s a nice little moment.
Reviewed by: Mitch Ray – Art Signified
“Body” is the seventh track on the album and, as is the case with much of the record, the guitar playing, tones and production are instant standouts. The song feels urgent, even desperate, and carries a sort of uplifting bleakness that Woolworm does better than most, helped in large part by the lyrics and the great vocal harmonies – another consistently noticeable aspect of the album as a whole.
Track: Morbid Obsession
Reviewed by: Emily Jayne – Pet Blessings
In high school when I got the compilation Fat Music for Fat People (Fat Wreck Chords, 1994), there was a track, “2RAK005” by the band Bracket that totally stood out with their melodic hooks and less bro-esque approach. The first 30 seconds of “Morbid Obsession” transported me to that memory from the mid ’90s, then kept me there. Not in a dated way, but in a way that when you’re hearing something new and it magically reminds you of old favourite bands that you might have not heard in awhile. Good trip.
Reviewed by: Jason Corbett – Actors
There’s a warmth and comfort to “Catbird.” Vocalist Giles Roy invites you in to his world with melody and an endearing sense of matter-of-factness. The feel is melancholy without the infinite sadness. Woolworm’s album may be called Deserve to Die but this group is having too much fun mining some ’90s gems and I’m loving it. The no-frills production showcases the bands strengths as they sound like a formidable well-oiled live unit. I’m willing to bet they have even more up their sleeve. Woolworm is another shining example of why Vancouver should be regarded worldwide as a hotbed of great music.
Reviewed by: Louise Burns
One of my favourite things about Woolworm is that they are secretly a pop band. At least to my ears. Their melodies are effortlessly catchy, and their hooks equally tasty. “Gender” is a track that contains neither hook nor melody (it is an instrumental) yet I still am somehow drawn in, despite being a basic melody bitch. Charcoals, maroons and navy blues swirl around like a dust storm for the whole two minutes and 11 seconds. It is a blizzard of vibes, equal parts high and hangover.