Album: Welcome The Worms
Label: Dead Oceans
Release Date: 04/01/2016
One was entangled in a toxic relationship, and the other was kicked out of house and home. Not long ago, the sisters Clavin, Jennifer and Jessie, were having a rough go of it. Bleached was their salvation.
It’s hardly surprising then that the Los Angeles pop-punk girl group’s sophomore effort, Welcome The Worms, is no wide-eyed innocent in pig tails. Less sunny than Bleached’s debut, the trio’s latest batch of sugary songs is not cutesy or adorable.
And yet, despite the irresistibly gnarly distortion of a low-down, grungy “Desolate Town” and the roughed-up garage rock sweetness of “Sleepwalking” and “Wednesday Night Melody,” Welcome The Worms, for all its adult concerns, is infectious, alluring and smart, displaying a more polished pop sensibility.
Directly descended from the Shangri-Las, the Runaways, Magnapop and the Muffs, with occasional nods to the Ramones and Elvis Costello, Bleached’s deceptively simple, yet serrated, blend of guitars, bass and drums is colored in with fizzy keyboards, making for deliriously catchy concoctions such as the breezy, echo-laden “Chemical Air,” the whirling “Keep on Keepin’ On” and the more vibrant “Wasted On You,” “Hollywood, We Did It All Wrong” and “Sour Candy.” Come for the tight hooks and slight psychedelic warmth, but stay for the wry commentary on California life and soul-searching meditations on heartache, even if all of this sounds a bit too familiar.
– Peter Lindblad