Saturday 30 January 2016

Review of 'Here Comes Washer' by Washer

This Brooklyn rock duo don’t do clean. I’m not saying they’ve got a swearing problem. And I’m not implying that the members of Washer don’t wash either. I mean to say that there’s nothing clean about these dudes’ sound, and it’s beautiful.

In this age of photoshop and spell-check and CGI in which everything can be digitally perfected, its sometimes nice to discover something raw and human and Washer are all about just that. Their songs are short and punky, rough around the edges and low on production quality, minimal but (importantly) not plain.

In their quest to sound organic, the band throw in a great deal of spicy volatility into the mixture. The band’s hi-treble twangy riffs often border on dissonance, the vocals sometimes erratically break into screams and the song structures are often entirely unpredictable. ‘Do it Yourself’ for example excitedly speeds up into double-time without warning for its last thirty seconds. It’s like the duo just downed a shot of espresso iced with cocaine midway through recording. Other tracks such as ‘Safe place’ meanwhile cut abruptly short, the band slamming on the brakes before hurtling into the next track.


The pace is so stupendously fast that even the unpolished parts that don’t quite work never hang around long enough to grate on the listener. Frontman Mike Quigley’s atonal chords and flat vocals on ‘Group Therapy’ mix about as well as a tuna and marmalade sandwich, but thankfully the track is a mere ‘1:13’ in length making it easier to stomach.

It’s not like we’ve got our shit together’ state the lyrics on ‘Pet Rock vs. Healing Crystal’, clear proof that this band are aware of their imperfections. They don’t want to impress anyone. But they’re not totally self-deprecating either. There are some glimpses of true positivity on this album - snippets of life advice ('it's too easy to compare yourself to anyone') and descriptions of bright nostalgia ('cardboard spaceship 3 2 1 hit green') - that showcase a band that are as confident as they are humble. Compared to some of their early stuff which contained hooks as hopeless as 'all I want to do is rot' this is actually quite a happy album.