Like the new Shouting Matches album, engineer TJ Swan has left the production spare and inviting to emphasize that starkness. It's fun, but there's a rawness to it that keeps everything from getting to glossy. They're accessible.

Worried Well can be goofy, even. Their video for "Sickly Honest" is a fun take-off on OK Go's first video breakthrough, and the song itself has an open and close that feature guitars like sound effects. The song's center, though, is banged-out pop rock, with a huge chorus ("She knows me well enough not to believe me/I'm never strong enough to no deceive you, you see") and a bridge that ramps up further with gang vocals. "You're Doing Fine" is almost Billy Joel in its pop and struts in the verse, with sword strokes of attacking chords. Maturation is on James's mind again, as he points to "children of the '80s going gray with age." Like the Hold Steady or the Weakerthans, his brand of nostalgia can be biting, and they sound like both bands with the organ-filled play out.

Yes, James — who's now moved in local bands from ska to pop punk to emo to something more like good, old-fashioned rock and roll — seems to be telling us he's all grown up. Look for the next album to ring in his mid-life crisis. ^

LUCK | Released by Worried Well | with the Box Tiger + Forget, Forget | at the Big Easy, in Portland | May 3 | worriedwell.bandcamp.com

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: CD Reviews , Worried Well
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   SEVEN-MAN ARMY  |  July 24, 2014
    Lately, it’s been open season on “Wagon Wheel,” which has become the acoustic musician’s “Freebird,” one of the very few songs that people actually know well enough to find it funny to request.
  •   AMOS LIBBY'S FIVE WEEKS IN THE HEART OF THE CONFLICT  |  July 23, 2014
    "(Israeli) immigration asked me at the airport why I didn’t leave when I could have and I said it was because I felt safe. They told me I was nuts.”
  •   WHAT YOU SAY, RYAN?  |  July 16, 2014
    Ryan’s calling card is his sincerity. While the production and presentation are of a genre, you won’t find him talking about puffing the chron or dissing women or dropping a million f-bombs or using a bunch of contemporary rap jargon. He’s got a plan and he executes it, with more variety and modes of attack than he’s had on display to this point.
  •   BETTY CODY, 1921-2014  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine music community lost a hidden giant last week with the death of Betty Cody, at 92.
  •   ADVENTURES IN LO-FI  |  July 11, 2014
    One obvious reason for heavy music is catharsis, a healthy release for all the built-up bullshit modern life entails. Like kickboxing class for suburban women, but with lots of black clothing and long hair.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE