Worries - Houses, Gardens (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Houses, Gardens (2015)


Along comes a band like Worries, and I begin to appreciate just how truly small my own awareness of great independent music is. Across the country in the Poconos, there’s a band that loves the same music I do, that self-recorded and released a remarkable album--- an album that completely flew under my radar. The three-piece’s debut, Houses, Gardens, is eight tracks of rousing indie-punk that manages to feel both moving and genuine.

The band provides a sound that’s equal parts upbeat (slightly) punk rock and poignant, affecting Americana. The vocals are an obvious strength, with strong harmonies between multiple singers. They’re easily brought down for beautifully subdued parts, but the band has no problem wringing emotion out of the heavier ones. Houses, Gardens rarely relies on typical song structures and the band seems comfortable exploring different sections and vocal-less interludes for extended periods of time. There never seem to be any obvious choruses to any song, but the melodies are still existent and the songs still find ways to be memorable.

Though Worries is by no means an obvious duplicate of any band, there are elements of better-known Pennsylvania contemporaries creeping in throughout their songs. On the brief “Winter”, there’s the uplifting fast-strummed open-chord guitar so characteristic of Spraynard. There’s the unassuming everyman lilt of Tiger’s Jaw in the dual vocals. There’s the nostalgic bittersweet sadness of Impossible Past-era Menzingers in every lyric. There’s also something strangely Midwestern about the band’s sound. For songs like “West Queen”, the band gets quiet and moody, reminiscent of Max Stern’s soul-baring moments in Signals Midwest. In the same Ohioan vein, the titular “Gardens, Houses” could easily be off of The Sidekick’s Awkward Breeds. I’ve just made reference to five distinctive bands, and that’s the point. I can hear little fragments of so many bands I love in Worries.

This is by no means a full-throttle punk record. Houses, Gardens is a soft, insightful sort of collection that still manages to rock for much of its duration. Though mostly unknown outside of Pennsylvania, Worries proves that they have the songwriting chops of their better-known peers. Get these guys out of the Poconos and on the road.