Will Finland never cease to surprise us? How can one tiny country continue to produce so much progressive, transgressive, creative and fucking perfect experimental rock? Circle, Keuhkot, Avarus, Anaksimandros, Mieskuoro Huutajaat, Pharaoh Overlord, Ektroverde, Skepticism, Kemialisett Ystavat, and now WORMS! The Worms may be new to you (and most of the folks in Finland) but they have been a fixture of the Finnish underground for over a decade. But even after a decade, their entire recorded output consisted of three 7″ singles and a few compilation tracks. So obviously something had to be done. We managed to track down the band, and discovered that they actually recorded a full length a few years back, but the label that was supposed to release it dropped the ball.
So here is Pelican Songs finally and man is it something. Five tracks of beautiful brutality. A dark and wintry, more motorik My Bloody Valentine, mixed with a little Circle and a little Filth-era Swans. Or some Frankensteinian dirge rock band, equal parts Godflesh, My Bloody Valentine, the Shadow Ring, and the Swans. The disc starts off with a massive 30 minute medley, a droning hypnotic dirge, like Terry Riley composing for Godflesh or the Melvins and quite reminiscent of Dutch riff gods Gore. Endless and hypnotic, crushing and brutal. The next three tracks display Worms more melodic side, letting a little pop shine through, with lilting vocals and darkly melancholic melodies and frontman Veli Pesonen’s deep Michael Gira like drawl intoning simple mantra-like lyrics, over jangly strummed riffs, more melodic maybe, but still drone-y and hypnotic and dreamy. Think late-era Swans, or maybe the Terminals, or the Clean, that sort of dreary, jangly New Zealand rock. The twenty minute ‘Border’ closes proceedings with a glorious din of shimmering but harrowing guitars, buried melodies and relentlessly propulsive rhythms.
This was a long time coming but once you hear it you’ll agree it was worth the wait. Definitely for fans of all the above mentioned bands as well as connoisseurs of drone/dirge/doom. Crushingly beautiful.
A brief history of WORMS:
Worms started in 1983, when the members were still in college. After several unstable line-ups and some miserable record label fuck ups, Worms reached a more secure state in the early 90’s. Completely ignored or hated in Finland, the band has managed, until now, to make only three singles, and two songs for a Bad Vugum compilation, remaining under even the underground.
Worms’ major influences have always been Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, Joy Division, Syd Barrett and the Stooges. All this mixed with classical or sometimes even jazz, forms the final Worms soundscape. Veli Pesonen has been the major songwriter for the group and Worms’ members have also done time in cult Finnish bands Penis Surprise, Tom Cat Rebels, Conventional Jazz Band and Karhu.