Flat Worms return with their third album in around four years, and on Antarctica, the group’s already punishing sound continues to get harsher and more brutal. Recorded in just six days with the help of Ty Segall and Steve Albini, it seeks to provide bleak yet darkly humorous commentary upon the state of the world today.
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You ever listen to something and wonder, why aren’t they screaming? Why aren’t they yelling? I used to be against screaming in music, I found it abrasive, but I’ve seen the light. A visceral yowl is cathartic in a way that any other type of singing can only hope to be.
Calling your album ‘Antarctica’ in 2020 means you’re angry. Writing songs about the damage the dirty energy industries are doing to our planet means you’re angry. Mocking those who bow down to market forces means you’re angry. So why don’t Flat Worms ever sound it? There is something inherently angry about the noisy and churning punk that the band makes, but I don’t want them to settle for that. I want them to get mad.
This is mostly due to a vocal performance, which at most manages a version of Mark E Smith’s trademark snark. But it’s not just that. Steve Albini produced ‘Antarctica’ and in doing the thing he does where everything sounds separate, he diminishes the band’s collective rage. These songs are mighty, the combination of big bass, driving drums, and searing guitars as potent as it’s ever been. But it could be more so.
More moments like the unforgiving guitar solo that closes out ‘The Aughts’ or the relentless pummelling groove the kicks us through ‘The Mind’. More anger and more rage at the systems that betray us every single day. They don't deserve anything less.
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