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Back in February of 2019, Connor and I had a relatively brief chat about Return to Worm Mountain’s debut self-titled LP. It transpired during the final episode of our now defunct Voices From Corners Unknown series, which was structured as us having three snappy discussions of, you guessed it, three albums. However, immediately after that episode’s release, we switched gears to focus on one album per episode because we found the Voices structure too limiting to provide in-depth insight into albums we could likely spend an hour plus rambling about. And though I cannot say Return to Worm Mountain’s debut was the sole reason we shifted speeds (our sanity and composure were slowly decaying under the weight of the swift reviews), it certainly played a key role as it was one Connor and I loved (and still love) dearly but we didn’t have enough time to expound upon it. Fortunately, the South African duo has returned to the fray with their sophomore effort Therianthropy, which now grants us the ripe opportunity to pour over their outlandish cross-pollination of psychedelic synth quirks, verdant folk melodies, acid-churning sludge, and a sundry of timbres balmy, bitter, and beatific.
Comprised of Cam Lofstrad (drums, synths, guitars, bass, vocals, etc.) and Duncan Park (guitars, bass, banjo, jaw harp, vocals), the duo embarked on a journey in January of 2019 to the land of the pig children who dwell at the foot of the eponymous mountain. Rife with experimentation, their compositions schlepped the disheveled pathways and obtuse gradients through pastel flora and alien fauna to further illustrate the extraordinary landscapes only vaguely captured in the album’s artwork. On their latest release, however, Worm Mountain eschews a return trip to the pig children and instead focus on cryptids, some well-known and others esoteric (at least to us). With this shift unfurls new vectors of sound. Still, Duncan’s serene acoustic melodies percolate and aberrations of desert-tinged synth sting, but these moments are exhaled in vivacious spells amidst caustic deluges of grindcore and blackened spew. Their knack for suturing these disparate timbres together remains steadfast and though we miss the pig children and their antics, Therianthropy is an astonishing showcase of the duo’s ever-evolving capabilities. We had a hell of a lot to say about this record, from the cryptids it pays homage to as well as the wonderfully strange chasers accompanying their brand of psychedelic tonic. Thank you so much for tuning in.
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Toward the end of this week, we’ll be dropping the first episode of a new pilot series where we provide some quick insights into new tracks that have recently dropped. Next week, we have an album review of Old Man Gloom’s surprise LP, Seminar IX: Darkness of Being.