Brainworms – Which is Worse LP

Which is Worse LP

…So there’s a slab of vinyl whirling on a turntable somewhere… Side A was recorded over 9 days in August of 2006 and has previously been released on cassette. Side B was recorded live on August 6th, 2005 and occasionally sold as a computer burned CD with handmade covers…and right now, this vinyl is the most violent, intense, scarring records anyone can possibly hear in 2007.

Maybe it’s been done before, this mix of frantic, oddly ‘yelled-but-not-quite-to-the-rhythm’ vocals bled into an impressive rhythm section and beds of buzzing guitars that sound like a shredding alarm for the coming of death itself – but really, who cares when it’s this intensely done? Punk? Seems too abrasive by today’s standards. Hardcore? Doesn’t really seem technical enough, and since there aren’t any ‘Cookie Monster’ vocals killing the buzz, assume it’s a blend of the two.

Regardless, Brainworms falls in a murky, bubbling cauldron stewing some odd concoction of Rites of Spring, with some Husker Du, Wipers and Articles of Faith thrown in for good measure. The shrill, coarse vocals mask it well, but sometimes there’s even a bit of melody amongst the sledgehammer Which is Worse swings.

Bonus points for the baseball reference in the title of schizophrenic “Mendoza Line Drive,” which drops from a blistering howl to an off-kilter stomp with a vocal cadence completely out of left field. None of that matters once the guitar solo blazes in and annihilates the previous two minutes of the track, though. The live version of “Gnar Gnar” (one of three songs repeated on each side) is buzzing, sludgy power at its biggest and best, using religion as a fountain to spew controversy over a wrecking ball of a track (“I’m sorry, I just think your religion is fucking stupid is all. / And I’m sorry you feel you have something to find, but Jesus Christ if that fucker doesn’t have me losing my mind’). At times it might seem predictable, but the band easily turns to jaw-dropping awesomeness laying in Afghan Whigs’-esque chord jangles during the turnarounds on “Born With a Beard.” Live “Ropes Course” ends with 45 seconds of flat out rhythm section abuse as two guitars add to the pounding — like plowing over someone’s legs with a bulldozer while clubbing them over the head with running chainsaws at the same time.

This is a record to fight by. Which is Worse is a great knock-down, drag-out, ‘pound a six-pack of the cheapest beer you can find and go throat-punch your neighbor’ sort of album – and who doesn’t need one of those every once in a while?