Published May 01, 2018With their debut EP, Alien Sunset, Max Clarke's Cut Worms distilled nostalgic rock hidden behind a fuzzy layer of tape hiss and reverb. Less than a year later, Clarke releases Hollow Ground, his first proper album, which sees his songwriting take a giant leap and come into focus.
Clearly inspired by the late '60s, on this LP, Cut Worms synthesize a moment in music history when the boundaries between country and psych rock were blurred for a brief, euphoric period. Bouncy pianos chord and twangy guitars abound in this timeless universe, owing as much to the Everly Brothers as to CSNY.
While some tracks adopt a wider scope — like the Phil Spector-leaning "Coward's Confidence" — they are outnumbered by crystalline compositions such as the happy-go-lucky "Till Tomorrow Goes Away" or the tingly "Don't Want to Say Good-bye," both lovelorn ballads that manage to sound like freshly re-mastered classics.
Cut Worms' music might not be as immediate as Andy Shauf's, or as inventive as Whitney's, but for listeners who miss the time when songwriters wrote actual songs, this album should not be overlooked. (Jagjaguwar/Outside)