Melbourne post-punk quartet RVG’s third album, Brain Worms, is a bold and ambitious record that sees the band expanding their sound with the addition of synths while staying true to their roots. The album is once again filled with catchy melodies, driving rhythms, and Romy Vager’s sharp, insightful lyrics. RVG harkens back to the 80s college post-punk era, rather than embracing the harder edges of contemporary bands in the genre. This different direction is extremely catchy, with its lush orchestration, haunting melodies, and poetic lyrics, showcasing the band’s growing maturity and solidifying their status as innovative and influential today.
Brain Worms opens with “Common Ground,” a swirling, hypnotic song that highlights the acceptance of certain unchangeable aspects of life. Vager’s lyrics are among the album’s strongest assets. She possesses a gift for writing about complex emotions in a manner that is both relatable and thought-provoking. In tracks like “Squid,” RVG explodes with bursts of angst, driven by an addictive beat that is hard to resist tapping your foot along to. Other songs, such as the propulsive “Nothing Really Changes” and the swaying “Tambourine,” delve into themes of loss, the challenge of letting go, and the power of remembrance. The interplay between Reuben Bloxham’s intricate guitar lines and Vager’s emotive vocals is particularly notable, creating a captivating dynamic that draws the listener in and maintains engagement throughout.
Brain Worms showcases the band’s mastery of atmospheric production. The album’s rich sonic tapestry, crafted by producer James Trevascus (known for his work with Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, The Goon Sax, PJ Harvey), perfectly complements the introspective and poetic nature of the songs. It creates a sense of space and depth, allowing the music to breathe and unfold organically.
Musically, Brain Worms offers more diversity than RVG’s previous work. While the band remains rooted in solid rock elements with plenty of guitars and impactful drums that can push your speakers to their limits, the album also embraces slower tempo tracks like “You’re The Reason” and “It’s Not Easy,” showcasing a passionate delivery. Overall, Brain Worms is a strong and impressive album that marks a new chapter in RVG’s career.
Brain Worms rewards repeated listens, revealing its depth and complexity over time as the listener delves deeper into the intricate melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. It invites introspection and reflection, offering a sonic journey that transports the listener to a different era of post-punk.
“Common Ground” / “Brain Worms” / “Nothing Really Changes”
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Catherine Wheel / Echo & The Bunnymen / The Go-Betweens
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