Wednesday, March 7, 2018

WORN LEATHER “Tape Three” (Reflective Tapes)

This tape grew on me. It is torch-bearing punk in the lineage of Velvet Underground, the Replacements or the Minutemen. They have good songs that utilize the natural strength of a 4-piece rock band, featuring a lot of guitar work and soloing. Raw, frugal, honest, understated—in fact, the main weakness in Worn Leather’s style is that the singer is somewhat emotionally muted and dull-sounding. But the more I listen to them, the more I like them. They seem like nice guys: thoughtful, trying to make something good, filled with sadness and rage and boredom and fear. Actually, Worn Leather remind me of a band I know in Worcester, MA called Gnards. They share that classic punk (with guitar solos retained) style; they are hard-working; and they’re nice guys. I imagine Worn Leather to be among this crew. Maybe they’ll throw in a little glamorous touch from time to time, but mostly what shines through is their common-man quality—simple, raw, good. I give thumbs up to these punks from New Haven, CT, as well as their people over at Reflective Tapes in Olympia, WA. The marker drawing of a rather non-descript duplex on the tape cover is oddly wonderful. Also, one final detail that enhances my enjoyment of this album is in the liner notes: “Recorded by Stefan Christ in a snow storm.” It seems that all records of substance nowadays are done with help from Christ during bad weather. Nicely done, guys. 

-Kevin Oliver