Four years after they went all the way to Antarctica, Flat Worms are back in gen pop with the rest of us — but, as intoned on the album opener “Sigalert,” “back again like I never was.” Is this a nod to the way time passes over our sorely vexed synapses? Or are we to believe that there’s
hope to be found in this broken world? Kick back with Witness Marks and see what other traces Flat Worms have left us in the dust.
The album title alone leaves a foreboding impression. But look closer — “witness marks” aren’t something out of a forensic analysis — they’re actually practical; scratches placed in old clocks designed to aid continued maintenance further in time.
Sure, there’s big questions and more on the board; primarily if we’re at all distinct from the absurdity coming down around us, or just another character in the mirror? Flat Worms are looking inward this time, outlining personal space in relation to themselves and others — sometimes even people they barely know. Among the slabs of slategrey outrage, the flowers of compassion are blooming, and the simmering power of their trio grows exponentially.
Working once again with Ty Segall, Flat Worms continue to find new answers by digging into themselves and playing their kind of rock: hard and flat, bass and drums thrusting stalwartly forward with conviction, guitar twisting and spinning in outrage, deadpan vocals decrying a dire set of circumstances.
The democracy of working together, so often messy and frustrating, was found to be a powerful release for Justin, Tim and Will. Acting as one, Flat Worms navigated challenging times by coming together, finding release in the clockwork repetitions of practice and the shared creative space they occupied together against the encroaching world.
In the short century of their existence, Flat Worms have agitated against the status quo with a disquieting lyric bent, to emphasize the psychosis of the times. These are positions taken within songs, sung out to individuals in the world. As evidenced by the lyrics,
“But I know I can always see you at the show Even though it’s only temporary and it’s time to go.”