Oxford’s Worry are a hell of a hardcore band, but that’s not all they are. They’re also a conscientious bunch, and for all the anger and brute force in the music – which is there in spades – the lyrics have always strived to be honest and truthful. That’s reflected in the title of Worry’s new EP, Good Person, and throughout this short record, vocalist Nathan Ball roars and rasps with a voice as brutal as his lyrics are vulnerable.
The EP kicks off with ‘Consequences’, and Nathan is opening himself up with the very first words – screaming, “I’m scared!” over the mathiest riff Worry have ever written. They’ve always been a technically proficient band, but usually, they prefer to go for the jugular with a big riff and irresistible punk rhythms, rather than showing off their considerable skill. Here, the verse is slightly fussier than that – though the riff is undeniably big – but it all gives way to a massive breakdown, and a killer outro as Nathan screams, “I’m scared of the consequences” over a huge driving rhythm that hurtles to a stop.
And if the first song is occasionally a bit careful in its construction, the second track, ‘Learn When to Rest’ is a muscular juggernaut of a track, uninterested in engaging the brain when it goes straight for the heart. “Know when to rest; know when to quit,” Nathan yells over the riff, but this track isn’t interested in giving you a rest, unstoppably hurtling forward until suddenly it isn’t, when the rug gets pulled from under you with one of Worry’s most punishing breakdowns. The pressure keeps getting piled on as it builds and builds, with Hannah Watts’ guitar cathartically squealing under the strain of it all. Try and resist this breakdown at your peril.
‘False Gods’ keeps the punk energy up, a furious assault to begin with before the drums relax slightly into an incredibly danceable little section – something Worry are surprisingly good at, as anyone who’s seen them live can attest. That doesn’t last long though – they’re much more interested in getting back to providing as punishing a punk song as they can. The drum work from Joe Turner is really fantastic here; in a very understated way, it takes total control of the listener. There’s also a fun video for this song, which has them all emerging out of the darkness in a practice room session that properly captures the energy of the track.
Then it’s suddenly the EP’s last song, which is also its best. The guitar has an utterly wicked upstroke, which doesn’t sound like it would be a big deal, but it lends the verses a thrilling sense that they’re teetering on the edge of collapse, somehow. Bassist Luke Allmond’s backing vocals are far more prominent than usual, engaged in a call and response with Nathan’s lead, which again lends the track a weird sense of being unbalanced.
But Worry are too good and too skilled to let that actually happen, instead using all that energy to make ‘Judge’ feel thrillingly unhinged rather than out of control. It’s a killer sign off from a terrific little EP, and the latest in a line of excellent releases from this great hardcore band.