About a month ago I received a stack of 7”s from Brian to review. In order to figure out what to review first I listened to all of them once while I simultaneously picked up around my apartment. In a surprisingly organized move on my part, I jotted down my initial thoughts of each release on a Post-It stuck to each record and filed them away for later review.
Fast-forward to today: I have set aside a little bit of time to write a review and I’m not in the mood to fawn over some great record; in fact, I feel more like letting loose and just ripping apart something I don’t like. I remember that there was one 7” that fit the bill that I could just pan and get it over with, so I grab the Brainworms / Dynamite Arrows split 7”, with scrawled Post-It still attached that reads, “garbage, noisy, fucking stupid.” In my weakest moment yet as a reviewer, I even contemplate not listening to it again, but my better judgment prevails and I put the needle down on the Brainworms side and sit down for my coming five minutes of torture.
As it turns out I was pretty much wrong in my initial appraisal of Brainworms. What sounded like overdone spastic noise when I wasn’t concentrating on it is actually a highly energetic post-everything band that basically demands full attention to get any appreciation out of it.
While Brainworm’s music is cool, sounding like Bear vs. Shark covering fIREHOSE, it is the vocals and lyrics that really stand out. With a delivery that usually lands somewhere between an abstract poetry reading, Hot Water Music and the Dead Milkmen’s redneck monologue over music track “Stuart,” the vocalist spits out a huge quantity of highly entertaining lyrics. His not-too-serious, straightforward yet stream-of-consciousness style works well on the hilarious lyrics of “Biggy, Shorty, Fatty, and Friends” where he muses on a youthful adherence to both straight-edge and veganism, hilariously noting, “I want the tofu platter but you’d better give me that shit without the beer-batter. Cows know I can’t skate in canvas Converse so, fuck you, don’t call my leather shoes murder. Break down the walls. Nailed to the X. Straight-edge revenge. True till death. How many men does it take to screw in a light bulb? One, if he’s not a fucking moron.”
On the flip side we find Dynamite Arrows. This band is a kind of letdown from Brainworms and I found their side to be just straightforward pop-punk with a serious arty slant. I listened to their two lengthy tracks a few times and it really failed to stick with me. The second song, “Lady, I’m Fucking Dead” even sounds like the vocals were just made up on the spot in the studio. Maybe this band’s approach will solidify more effectively in future releases, but for now it seems to just be floating in space.
While splits aren’t supposed to be competitions, the clear standout here is Brainworms. If you’re getting burnt out on punk rock and sick of every band sounding the same, this could be your new favorite band.