R E V I E W
Wurld Series – What’s Growing LP (Melted Icecream/Osborne Again/Meritorio)
It’s a gloriously autumnal Saturday morning in Kirikiriroa, the sun is shining, it’s warm, and absolutely pissing down. Ootautahi Christchurch’s Wurld Series latest offering, ‘What’s Growing’ has been slapped on the turntable, its forest green vinyl glistening in the half-light through the window. The needle hits, and opening track ‘Harvester’ floats out of the speakers and transports me back in time not to mention half way across the globe, straight into the first ten rows of the crowd for Pavement’s 1994 Reading Festival set when, aged 21, their perfect sound changed me forever.
It’s nothing specific that takes me there, but at the same time it’s everything. Take recent single and second track, ‘Nap Gate’, for example – main songwriter Luke Towart’s droll vocal delivery, his and/or Adam Hattaway’s Malkmus-esque guitar lines, the Steve West beats of Brian Feary, (who also produced the record), the Iboldian basslines of Emma Hattaway…the whole package just soars and crashes at the right times and is very close to perfection.
However, while there are undoubtedly Stockton vibes throughout this LP - Wurld Series wear their influences proudly on their sleeve - there is no doubt that they are a band in their own right carving their own way with an array of songs that just sound really really, really good.
Take, for example, ‘Supplication’, ‘World Beating System’ and ‘To The Recruiting Officer’, there is a gentler flow rather than a song of typical verse-chorus-verse nature, which conjure up memories of Dayton’s Guided By Voices, The Beatles and even Tall Dwarfs, with instruments such as mellotron, slide guitar and even a xaphoon! Tremendous stuff.
The rain outside has stopped and now there is just sunshine, which fits perfectly with the first song on side two, unquestionable banger ‘Grey Men’. I decide it’s time for a coffee and in doing so it hits me that I’ve been banging on about what these songs sound like, (to me), rather than what they are singing about. Then I realise I haven’t got a clue, and while it might be nice to find out at some stage, I’m not too bothered.
The lyrics are definitely interesting and some of them stick in your head easier than others. Take ‘They will hover above/Look down with benevolent love’ on ‘Grey Men’. That got stuck in my head sometime ago now, like a large shipping, um ship, in an Egyptian canal, but I couldn’t tell you what it’s about and that’s just fine. Sometimes it’s nice just to listen and wonder and sing along and imagine what on earth lines like ‘Fresh-ly saturated and watched by eyes that can’t be sated’, from the album’s penultimate song ‘Moat’, actually mean. Apart from being the second song on the album to feature the word ‘sated’ – it’s a great first line and while I think I might have an idea of what it’s about, I like not actually knowing.
Side two draws to a close with ‘Eighteenth Giant Brother’ declaring ‘Heading into autumn now’ and fittingly the rain returns outside – proper rain this time, loud, crooked rain, freshly saturating the sour earth and I wonder what’s growing out there.