Friday, June 13, 2014

Wicked City - Worsted Yarn

Wicked City
Worsted Yarn
Independent Release

Long running Brunswick (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) based heavy/stoner/punk/grunge rock outfit Wicked City have been long absent from the studio since the release of their second full-length album ‘With Wings’ (Which was released through Impedance Records) way back in 2009. But after a self imposed hiatus (Although the trio did release a bits and pieces/curio collection last year entitled ‘Jams, Ideas, Gags’ for fans), the band is back with their long awaited third full-length effort ‘Worsted Yarn’. And it’s another impressive slab of the band’s unpredictable brand of rock ‘n’ roll.
Wicked City (Who comprise of guitarist/vocalist Nick Grammenos, bassist/vocalist Patto Warner and drummer/lead vocalist Paddy Millman) launch their latest album with ‘Applegate’, which begins with a series of angular riffs, a thumping bass line and plenty of melody on the vocal front to keep the track somewhat on track for the listener. The band makes good use of incorporating highs and lows in both instrumentation and vibe, which helps to emphasise the band’s powerful array of dynamics. Quite simply, ‘Applegate’ is an explosive opener that showcases the band’s musicianship.
The follow on track ‘Slipstream’ is a fast paced effort that fuses elements of stoner groove and punk, and is perhaps one of the album’s more immediate tracks, while ‘Dog’s Life’ is a bludgeoning, raucous and somewhat odd stoner grooved tune that has the band turning things up a notch on the volume side of the musical equation, but keeping things melodic enough (Particularly in regards to the short but sweet guitar solos) to retain the listeners attention throughout.
‘Dead Friends’ is a slow burning turn towards doom territory, and is one of the rare tracks on the album that doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. Perhaps it’s the repetitiveness of the riff, the slow moving pace or the echoed effects on the vocals, but either way, the song doesn’t quite have ideas or changes in tempo to really go anywhere in general.
Things pick up with the shorter, fast paced and sci-fi themed ‘Planet X’, while the lengthy ‘Badlands’ is a perfect example of where the band allows themselves to stretch out and incorporate a wide variety of ideas into the one song to create a mini-epic of sorts. Shades of psychedelic rock, grunge and stoner grooves (Early Kyuss comes to mind in places) can be heard through the track’s seven minutes, and while it all sounds a little confused and messy, Wicked City manage to make it sound natural and free flowing throughout.
Like ‘Dog’s Life’, the punk influenced grunge-like ‘Grindstone’ is another immediate track for listeners with its fairly straightforward song writing framework and musical/vocal accompaniment, while the closer ‘Violent Mind’ is stylistically not to dissimilar to the opener with the song featuring plenty of ebb and flow on the dynamics front, but with a twisted aggression on the vocal front to add an air of menace to send the album off in a unhinged fashion.
Wicked City has never been the kind of band to cater to the masses. Their music isn’t always easy to dissect, and takes time to fully appreciate. But once you get your head around the music, it’s not hard to see why the band is hailed as one of the best outfits within the Melbourne underground scene.
It’s taken Wicked City a long time to return with their third album, but there’s no doubt that it’s a big step up from what was offered on ‘With Wings’, and an album worth seeking out.

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© Justin Donnelly

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