Forget the year of the rabbit, 2023 is slowly becoming the year of the worm!
HMLTD have announced their brand-new record The Worm with new single ‘Wyrmlands’. Strangely enough, they are the second South London based alternative band to announce a worm-themed record this year, with Shame releasing their upcoming record Food For Worms on February 24.
Both bands stem from the so-called Windmill-scene – The Windmill being a venue in South London that has become a champion of promoting new alternative bands, with successes such as Black Midi, Black Country, New Road, Sorry, and Goat Girl among others. The two records so far seem to thematically and sonically have very little to do with each other, but the naming similarity is enough for the groups to engage in a mock sparring contest on Twitter, declaring their record face-off as “the battle of the worms”.
HMLTD’s first contribution to this battle is certainly a departure from their earlier sound, skewing away from the usual melodramatic vocals of frontman Henry Spychalski and the chaotic electro-rave beats that have become synonymous with their sound, and steering more towards an equally chaotic, but more sonically advanced jazz inspired sound. ‘Wyrmlands’, despite its technical progression for the band, sounds less like a stand-alone single and more like an introduction to the world of The Worm.
The single was first premiered at HMLTD’s conceptual show, The Order, last October, which gave audiences the first look at the totalitarian world that HMLTD seem to be building on this latest record. HMLTD are no stranger to conceptual projects. Their debut album, The West of Eden, released at the start of 2020, imagined (rather ironically given the year that followed) a dystopian breakdown of western society set at the end of 2020. But on The Worm, HMLTD seem to be taking this even further.
Lucky Number, the band’s record label, said of the album:
“The Worm is less a concept album than a fully-fledged musical universe, transcending genre and medium”
‘Wyrmlands’ introduces us to this musical universe by rather comically declaring that “The worm is here!” in the first line. The song then proceeds to imagine a medieval England setting where the world is one of desolate destruction caused by the eponymous worm. Despite this historical, bleak setting, the band still manage to pull out some slightly cringeworthy contemporarily styled one-liners: “At St. Pancras, with our pants down, acting ‘sus’” being a prime example. But even with this lyrical blunder, the track still manages to capture the idea that the worm is an authority to fear and to revolt against… even if we’re left wondering exactly what the worm is.
The Worm is out on the April 7, via Lucky Number Music.
Listen to the track below:
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