Wormburner have no time nor need for a long, drawn-out introduction, and just like a novel without a prologue, Pleasant Living In Planned Communities immediately kicks into high gear, weaving several tales of soldiers, hustlers, and other characters living through desperation. The band effortlessly melds indie, punk, power pop, and rock into a diverse, yet cohesive sound.
This 15-track musical gauntlet starts out with skater punk anthem “Hopscotch Gunner”; with its straightforward rhythms, hard-hitting bass grooves, and raging guitar licks, this song proves to be an enjoyable, audial foray. Melodies reign and the volume is turned down for two songs, a power pop ballad and gypsy jam session, one of which features Paul Carbonara (of Blondie) on guitar. Heavy drums and bass round out the first half of the album in “Made-For-TV Movie,” a melodic punk anthem with soaring vocal harmonies akin to “Letterbomb” by Green Day and “Bro Hymn” by Pennywise. Following this, the next batch sees a trade-off between influences spanning Bruce Springsteen, The Clash, and Foo Fighters. Pleasant Living ends with “Doxology,” an upbeat, swing rock song, which perfectly encapsulates the musical themes of the album; it constantly builds up, employing most of the band’s musical repertoire, before decaying into a quiet outro.
With vocals like a tenor Chuck Ragan and enough instruments to make a small pit band, this group manages to transcend boundaries and make stellar music as well. It might take a few listens to wholly enjoy the album, but that’s what makes it so exceptional; every little guitar riff thrown in the faint background, or every time a song is made fuller with MOOG & KORG created textures. The members of Wormburner have simply made an amazing album full of stories and hits that might as well be Made-for-TV.