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In case you missed it, Die! Die! Die! released one of the best punk records of 2015 in December. It was characteristically intense, the band’s bite matching their growl perfectly. So upon learning that Rory Attwell who played bass on the EP had his own solo project Warm Brains, this self-respecting fan had to suss out what the go was. There have been a couple of impressive solo outings to release new material in 2015, Zefereli and Dreller spring to mind immediately.
A concoction of vitriol, existentialism, sarcasm and wonder, Rory Attwell’s return to Warm Brains is a welcome one with his latest full-length Big Wow.
Attwell has been noodling around with his Warm Brains project since 2010, having released one EP Happy Accidents and two albums Old Volcanoes and Big Wow since then. Not to mention Attwell has worked as a producer for bands like Yuck and Male Bonding. From the opening moments of his latest Big Wow Attwell distinguishes himself from his other projects by branching out with a more spaced out alternative rock vibe. His DIY attitude is worn on the sleeve as each track spouts affable charm. From the fast food album cover, to Attwell’s lax vocals, to what is definitely a vacuum cleaner on Now That I’m Boring, the whole affair is what can only be described as a mess of fun anchored by stark honesty.
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It’s similar to Kiwi collective Nakey, in regards to the ‘matter of fact’ nature that each songs carries. Whether they concern his partner, his pad or the person he thinks he is, Attwell is unbarred in his thumping tales that aren’t afraid to dip into the unconventional. Standout track Pink Blackpool Rock is such a ditty, which he says is about “People in history who have had thoughts and ideas that have been considered to be complete insanity, but with the passing of time those ideas have been regarded as very intuitive, progressive and highly valuable“. Meanwhile The Islandman slows things down as Attwell pensively considers the amount of control any individual has over their own lives, and what they can exert over others.
Opener Languid Tarmac is a tightly wound observation of shitty people and situations that stands on the cusp of launching into a frenzy, while White Monitor Screens deal with the beautiful uncertainty of being out on your own. Attwell’s imagery is impressive, remaining ambiguous enough to intrigue with lyrics like “Light up the fake cold fire it’s cold out tonight / a thousand molecules erupt into life / I can see them flicker deep in amber eyes“.
Self-recorded, the album sounds pretty solid, which is expected from a man of Attwell’s calibre. It’s a little rough but that’s the point. When it boils down to it Big Wow is about stark honesty, and it’s something that Rory Attwell delivers in an entertaining fashion.
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