Milwaukee’s WORK exorcize post-punk demons on ‘Doing The Lords’
WORK’s first album, The Long Con (2014) may have flown under the proverbial radar for most, but anyone familiar with the album and WORK’s live shows knew that their follow-up release would warrant a great deal of attention.
‘Doing The Lords’ (2016) fulfilled every expectation and expanded on WORK’s strong intuitions in song craftsmanship, exploring a blend of post-punk, country with a hint of No Wave in the guitar performances and vocals.
There are two things that stand out to me with WORK that sets their talents apart from many.
First, Joe Cannon, Jeff Brueggeman and Kavi Laud know how to execute arrangements with a mature sense of utilizing audio space. One may chalk it up to each member’s years of experience as talented musicians, however their chemistry is undeniably honed in for this release.
On ‘Doing The Lords’, WORK take that spatial mastery to a new level, well in sync with each other and with what each song is beckoning for. Take the slow-burn of We Will Have No More Marriages for example. What starts out as a slightly-positive 50’s style rock number slowly evolves into a bombastic culmination of fiery guitar textures.
Second, WORK also excels well as storytellers. In a similar manner to experimentalists such as The Residents, WORK does not necessarily take the listener places that always feel comfortable or therefore have happy endings (thank you!). Like an audio companion to the work of David Lynch, there is an underlying beauty grounded in sheer realism that weaves through every song poignantly.
While ‘Doing The Lords’ is overall a more upbeat album than WORK’s previous release, there is a cleverly dangerous urgency to the lyricism and Joe Cannon’s delivery always bites with a certain snarl or drawl channeling No Wave champions such as James Chance or Michael Gira.
Most importantly, ‘Doing The Lords’ is an absolutely enjoyable listen from start to finish and will be held in high regards from this reviewer as one of the most important releases of 2016.
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