Christchurch, New Zealand is a city famed for its DIY music culture. When I think of Christchurch my mind is immediately drawn to Flying Nun. Wurld Series, formed in the mid 2010s, are a continuation of this aesthetic, only they come to us via Spanish label Meritorio Records. The band having an English singer in Luke Towart, to boot, makes this a truly international affair. What’s Growing is the band’s second album and, at first, sees them continue where they left off on their melodic slacker indie journey. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
From the opening phrase of “Harvester” you feel right at home. An instrumental that immediately echoes early Pavement, with it’s fuzzy guitar melody and crooked rhythm that speeds up like a child pretending to switch car gears at the end. “Nap Gate” continues the Pavement vibe. It’s very “Summer Babe”, which is no bad thing. Of course, when the vocals chime in, we’re reminded who we’re actually listening to. There are some lovely overlapping guitar noodles and tasty feedback when they let fly.
“Supplication” is a pleasant and understated change, the pastoral mellotron line recalling the Beatles psychedelic phase. They take in Weezer-ish pop punk on the short but sweet “Moved In” before “Distant Business” rips in with its frantic guitar work. It’s great fun, kind of like a slightly slicker Sebadoh.
While their influences are worn on their sleeves Wurld Series have enough about them to distinguish them from their peers.
“To The Recruiting Officer” and “World Beating System” are cute vignettes that, while filling space, bring some great moments. The wonky saxophone on the former is laugh out loud funny. The Built To Spill bendy guitar line on the latter somewhat unexpectedly accompanies the synth drone. The band are adding strings to their bow. The softness continues on the pretty instrumental “Growing (For Now)”, that weird sax returning. “Grey Men” brings back the slacker rock and, at just under a minute and a half, leaves you wanting more. There’s a glee in the melody and the timing of chord changes that it wouldn’t have felt overlong if they’d added one more verse at the end. The lo-fi low end droning “I See” sits somewhere in the space between Sebadoh and The Beatles. A space I had never really considered existed before, and it really works.
There’s a lot to love about this record.
“Eliminator” is another upbeat, and delightful piece of fuzzy indie rock while “Moaning Future Times” has the feel of a lo-fi demo that was just perfect as it was. The way they have slowed down and allowed themselves to breathe it akin to the way Savage Mansion did last year with their excellent “Weird Country”. “Feeling Crushed” is testament to this. The mellotron returns on “Moat”, tricking us into thinking this will be another slow song, before becoming increasingly crooked and discordant.
When you’ve reached the fifteenth and final track in under half an hour you know you’ve had fun. “Eighteenth Giant Brother” caps off the album with a soft, minimal guitar line and swooning slide guitar to accompany Towart’s abstract lyrics.
With a widely more subtle approach on “What’s Growing” Wurld Series have grown up. Thankfully they’ve also kept enough of the scuzz that gained them fans on their earlier work.
“What’s Growing” is out now via Meritorio Records.
You may enjoy this if you like: Doe, Parquet Courts, Pavement, Savage Mansion, Sebadoh, Weezer