Worlds Worst’s Self-Titled Album (album review)

Worlds Worst, the indie rock soundstorm from Salt Lake City, released their self-titled debut album on March 31st. The album boasts some of the sickest guitar riffs of the year, massive breakdowns, and a rough and rowdy delivery. It’s a rollercoaster of a rock album with 10 tracks clocking in at just under 30 minutes. It’s also in my top 3 albums of the 2023.

“Dry It Out” opens the album. As it tears down the road with swift drums, wild guitar lines, and ruthless feedback, we catch some insight into the band’s mantra. The high octane track is infused with some lyrics of getting back up and giving things time. As they dash down the 3 minute runtime we hear a series of scraping and skidding guitar licks that accompany the fast paced track, opening the door for the wild ride ahead.

“Challenger” blasts out the gate with a scream of feedback, a perfect guitar hook, and vocals to pair. The track is a bona fide banger. As the band reels the listener in, it lets go to show off some sweet guitarwork and punky vocals. The breakdowns come with huge riffs coated in fuzz before returning to that sweet guitar hook that kicked off the track. I first heard this track back in September of last year and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. I’m glad to finally be able to hear it on streaming instead of through old recordings.

The lead single of the album, “Knockout”, comes in at #3 on the tracklist. The riff cradles the listener back and forth as the singer drops crushing lyrics about feeling desperate and down and out. As they skulk through their verse, the energy tenses as they prepare to shift gears. Rugged and riled up, the rockers break into the chorus shouting, “YOU’RE KNOCKED DOWN FOR THE COUNT” as a blast of distortion smacks the listener. Worlds Worst leans into their shoegaze roots as they play with feedback, letting it scream as they enter into a final chorus. Alongside its catchy riffs, the repetition of the chorus in this track only aids its addictive nature. 

“Rhino” climbs mountainous guitar riffs before sliding back down them with punchy bass runs and swift drumming. The huge guitarwork seems like something you’d see from the Smashing Pumpkins or Dawning but it’s completely true to their roots off EPs 1 & 2.

One of my favorite tracks from the album was “Gate.” It begins with a down tempo beat, keeping what’s ahead a secret until the first drop. Suddenly, the track is flipped on its head and gain-soaked guitar riffs are raining down in between vocal slams. This moment makes it stand out from the whole album despite the track’s 2:29 runtime.

Part of what makes this album so amazing to me is how so many of these tracks run so short, yet leave such memorable impressions that you’ll end up spinning the record over and over.

“8th East” is another one of my favorites from the album. The punky spirit of Worlds Worst layers perfectly into the track as they sing: “The dust bowl keeps surrounding me / I kicked it up as I leave.” The track’s got attitude, what more do you want from ‘em?

The album ends with “Mallard”, the longest track on the album with a runtime just short of 5 minutes. I also hadn’t heard this track since I caught them touring the south east with Dawning in September of last year. The track feels like racing down an empty road at sunset in a car that might not be able to take it. Each massive wave of guitar distortion highlights the album’s best moments and brings the record to a satisfying close.

Stream “Worlds Worst” below!

Worlds Worst is also playing a HUGE show in Salt Lake City on Sunday at the Kilby Block Party (May 14th [also Mother’s Day!]) alongside the likes of The Strokes, Jean Dawson, Alex G, Pavement, Japanese Breakfast, Duster, Indigo De Souza, The Backseat Lovers, and a host of other talented artists. If you’re in the area, you won’t wanna miss it. Check out their other tour dates below!

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