Weirds - Swarmculture album review

Grungy, trippy Leeds quartet Weirds’ pleasingly off-kilter debut.

Weirds - Swarmculture album artwork

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These Yorkshire youngsters have described their sound as ‘progressive dissonance’, but they’re happy to cherry-pick elements from disparate influences without fealty to any musical tribe or template.

The trippy organ and effects-laden guitar figures that introduce Things That Crawl suggest we’re in for a fairly cerebral, arty affair, but as soon as the thundering grunge-fuzz riff kicks in, Weirds’ debt to stoner rock and early grunge puts paid to expectations of a chin-stroking leftfield listen. As much as they like to build intricate soundscapes, they also wanna rock. Aidan Razzall’s agitated, distorted vocal on Valley Of Vision is driven by Matt Vaughan’s urgent bassline and Zach Thomas’ shoegazey gusts of noise, and there’s even a pronounced funk groove to Phantom’s loose-limbed rhythm. They apply lighter touches with equal skill in the delicate guitar arpeggios of Black Desert but then doom metal clouds gather. And that’s a trademark trick with this lot – expect the unexpected. A drum fill will hit when you expect a vocal, a squall of keyboards when you’re expecting a chorus, and halfway through an apparently straightforward track, a sudden detour into a Krautrock jam will ensure all bets remain firmly off.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock