The new album from Cut Worms, Hollow Ground, out on Friday via Jagjaguwar, is as fine a collection of indie-pop as 2018 is likely to see. Song after song charms and quietly amazes here, with main-man Max Clarke revealing himself to be a substantial talent on this record. But we sort of knew that already, didn't we?
Opener "How It Can Be" sounds like something from The Beau Brummels, while numbers like "Coward's Confidence" signify a considerable debt owed to Phil and Don. Elsewhere, "It Won't Be Long" suggest the influence of The Kinks in their Muswell Hillbilly-phase, while "Till Tomorrow Goes Away" is bright, chippy music hall-stuff, the sound of a Yank sifting through a dozen or so worthy influences from the British music scene some decades ago. The longer "Like Going Down Sideways" didn't work as much for me, but when Max keeps things concise, like on the peppy "Think I Might Be In Love", Clarke hits at a sort of timelessness that imbues these cuts with a weird familiarity, such that a listener can grasp at pieces that sound like bands you're in love with already.
There's so much here to love that Hollow Ground seems like one of the more significant records of 2018 and we're only 4 months in. Max Clarke as Cut Worms has crafted a set of tunes here that all charm. Fans of chamber-pop, and the Nuggets-era stuff, should love this record, and so should anyone who's looking for well-crafted indie-pop.
Hollow Ground by Cut Worms will be out on Friday via Jagjaguwar.
[Photo: Joyce Lee]