Published Sep 21, 2012Vancouver's Woolworm first caught our radar in 2009, when they appeared on the excellent, hard-to-find Vancouver Simplification cassette. Sandwiched between hardcore bands, their song "Bad Thing" was a bittersweet, relatively lo-fi slab of indie pop. Now, three years later, they've upped the ante significantly on their debut album Believe in Ourselves.
"We formed in early 2008, which is weird to think about," frontman Giles Roy recalls to Exclaim! "Our only real goal was to do it for a long time and be the type of band that ends up being somebody's favourite band."
Roy's favourite bands, at least in the context of influences for Woolworm, include Sonic Youth, Guided By Voices, My Bloody Valentine, Ringworm and Integrity. That's a telling list, considering the band's ability to toe the line between heavy shoegaze and artful indie pop with just the right touch of hardcore.
"Since we come from that background as musicians, we're most comfortable playing all ages punk shows, but there's definitely no scene that we're closely attached to," Roy explains of the band members' involvement in the hardcore scene. "We've spent a lot of time, as a band, trying to figure out where we belong. We're not the coolest people around, and it's probably cost us an audience. But I guess I wouldn't be much of a punk if I gave a shit."
In all of their press materials, Woolworm have referred to their sound as "blanket rock." Roy admits that it's "sort of a joke," though he adds, "It's about making sure every song has a sort of warmth, but it's also about fucking around with different styles and moods, figuratively fitting everything under the blanket."
It's not all about trying to classify themselves, however — on Believe in Ourselves, Woolworm's thoughtful approach to songwriting and careful appreciation for sonic textures has paid off with their most immersive, fascinating statement yet.
Recorded with Mike Kraushaar at Bully's Studios (home of Tempest, Ancients, Black Wizard and "a bunch of wrestling-metal bands"), Believe in Ourselves is an immense first album with a lot to sink into.
According to Roy, the album's title has many meanings. "It's about reminding myself that I exist and am capable of helping or hurting people, it's about trying to convince ourselves that we're making worthwhile music in the face of almost total apathy, and it's urging people to rely on themselves rather than an absent god."
Believe in Ourselves was just released on cassette via new Vancouver imprint Crippling Doubt, and you can pick up a copy here. There will also be a digital release and, eventually, a vinyl issue, though the band are still finalizing plans.
We've also arranged a stream of the whole thing, which you can check out here in our Music/Video section.
Believe in Ourselves:
1. Ginga Dreaming
2. Cyclops Boy
3. Alamir Feeling
4. Two Awful Truths
6. How Did I Know
7. Someone Has Left You
8. Still One / Royalty
9. Lost Colour
10. Believe in Ourselves