While the title of Bleached’s second album has a decomposing ring to it, the band has actually improved their upbeat pop punk from their excellent 2013 debut. That’s not to say everything is sunshine and spring gardens though as Welcome The Worms was written during some difficult times in the band members lives. Lyrically this shows, but the music (moved along by top notch production) can’t help but shine through and elevate the outfit to soaring heights.
The LA based trio of Micayla Grace, Jessie and Jennifer Clavin were experiencing personal turmoil in various forms when this record was written and recorded, a track like “Wasted On You” directly spells out a break up but it never wallows. It calls out both parties but still displays a power beat, deft background vocals and a killer “oo oo oooo” repeating phrase that is dynamite; even during broken heartedness the pop/punk magic wins out.
Opener “Keep On Keepin’ On” sets the tone completely with a straight ahead beat, surviving lyrics and organ influx which twist the dynamics while “Trying To Lose Myself Again” injects hand claps and wishes for simpler times. “I’m All Over The Place (Mystic Mama)” gets its groove on and closer “Hollywood, We Did It All Wrong” confidently closes things with an eye forward.
“Sleepwalking” is all about the beautiful bass runs that Grace manages to intertwine and “Chemical Air” is a showcase for guitarist Jennifer Clavin to get some soloing in. A sugary sweet drug trip (complete with bong rip intro) is swayed to during the 50’s-by-way-of-the-Go-Go’s “Sour Candy” and while there isn’t a clunker in the bunch “Desolate Town” is a touch confused as it goes grungy then tries a mid-tune uplift that never really takes off.
A shining gem of a song is the Joan Jett influenced “Wednesday Night Melody” that puts a positive spin on it all. It is a life affirming track that can’t help but make a listener smile and shake a tail feather. Welcome The Worms is an upbeat, meaningful album and a showcase for Bleached to really break through.