WOMPS
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WOMPS

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Garage Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Oct
16
WOMPS @ The Tyne Bar

Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom

Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom

Oct
15
WOMPS @ The Shacklewell Arms

London, England, United Kingdom

London, England, United Kingdom

Jul
10
WOMPS @ T In The Park

Scotland, United Kingdom

Scotland, United Kingdom

Music

Press


BEING in a recording studio on the other side of the Atlantic, laying down the tracks that will form the debut album by your new band, is intimidating enough as a scenario. But imagine looking through the big glass window and seeing one of your musical heroes pressing the buttons on the mixing desk.

That’s what Ewan Grant and Owen Wicksted of WOMPS faced when they travelled from Glasgow to Chicago to work with Steve Albini. The post-hardcore pioneer might dislike the sleeve credit “producer” (he prefers “recording engineer”) but he has played his part on albums by Nirvana, The Breeders, The Wedding Present, PJ Harvey and Jarvis Cocker, to name but a few. And he’s pretty influential as a musician too.

Grant reckons he first came across Albini the producer via Pixies’ Surfer Rosa album, before getting into Albini the musician’s current band Shellac and moving back through his recorded output to the legendary Big Black. Some detractors claim that Albini’s prolific engineering craft is little more than pressing the record button but Grant begs to differ.

“What he taught us was more an attitude, and to believe in our guts with performances,” he argues. “I’m not sure he brings much to the writing side but he allows the band to be themselves and captures it perfectly, good and bad, and that’s why we wanted to work with him. We’re very interested in growing and learning, and he has accelerated that growth exponentially.”

Grant’s name will be familiar to those with an ear on the Scottish alt-rock scene. Playing in an earlier incarnation as Algernon Doll, he developed his songwriting through three albums, from Elliott Smith-style acoustic confessionals to Sub Pop-style grunge workouts. These were solo projects in all but name, but the shift to WOMPS definitely marks the arrival of shared writing duties.

“There was a time in the first sessions with Albini when Owen and I realised we were better off writing as a band,” Grant explains. “It’s very important, when recording live, that things are as organic as possible and that ideas are coming from more than one place. I don’t think I would have given up my benign dictatorship for anyone unless there was some sort of chemistry, but I’m lucky to have found that with Owen.

“He’s very involved in the arranging of the songs, and now he writes the bass parts and some synth melodies, so it has changed how we write vastly. We can also jam out parts live much more as there are no boundaries and we’re lucky to be on the same page all the time. It’s something I do not take for granted.”

The rhythmic drive of the drums is much closer to the creative core of WOMPS’ new material, particularly on the likes of Manners and Cancer Of The Bone from that Albini-produced debut, Our Fertile Forever, released via Displaced Records on June 10.

This is the product of the band thinking as a duo (Scott McColl and Neil Bannatyne alternate bass duties, although Wicksted has been playing bass on recent demos) and suggests that there’s no going back now to the Algernon Doll back catalogue. It would be a shame, though, if some of those older songs – Sweet Nothing, Spilt Milk Perfume – never saw the light of day again.

“We’re more concerned with creating new material and constantly evolving, rather than going backwards,” Grant insists. “I’m sure it would be fun to play those songs again, and it’s very flattering that people would like to hear them, but we put a lot of emphasis on constantly changing.

“Since writing and recording Our Fertile Forever, we’ve moved on to cover vastly different ground. We’re finding ourselves with each practice and idea, and I don’t think we’ll ever do a similar album to the last.”

WOMPS play Brew At The Bog, at Bogbain Farm, Inverness, tomorrow; The Phoenix, Inverness as part of XpoNorth, June 8; Stereo, Glasgow, June 11; Electric Circus, Edinburgh, June 12; Mediterranea, Stirling, June 17; Conroys Basement, Dundee, June 18; and The Tunnels, Aberdeen, July 1. - The National


Scottish duo WOMPS have a name that sounds like it’s about to club you to death, and their sound doesn’t stray far from that initial impression. The band’s forthcoming debut LP, Our Fertile Forever, is also aptly named, hailing from the fertile crescent of post-punk known as Glasgow. But it pays to dig beneath the surface of a band like WOMPS, as what you’ll find is a stash of 10 indie rock gems encased in the thinnest layer of dirt.

These songs snarl and bark, thrashing about in pools of distortion like animals stranded on their backs. But step back a short distance and you’ll be able to appreciate the hooks that anchor tracks like “Manners” and the anthemic opener “Plasticine”, both of which seem destined to be met with screams and singalongs at future shows. Indeed, if there’s one thing that WOMPS specialize in, it’s recreating the energy of a live show on record. Here’s a fun challenge: Listen to mid-album standouts “Dreams On Demand” and “Cavity” back to back and try not to break the nearest fragile object. To be fair, I might just have a particularly violent way of enjoying music.

If Our Fertile Forever sounds — what’s the word I’m looking for — huger than most albums of its kind, that probably has a lot to do with the fact that it was recorded by legendary producer Steve Albini at his Electric Audio studio in Chicago. The album is due out June 10th via Displaced Records and The Orchard, but we’ve got the full stream for you below. Recommended for fans of Gang of Four, rainy days, and razor-sharp riffs. - Consequence of Sound


Glasgow-based garage-rock duo WOMPS are certainly ones to watch. Their journey from bagging groceries in order to fund their dreams to being booked to play SXSW this year seems to have happened overnight, and the release of the group’s debut LP will only help them on their way. Their new record, Our Fertile Forever, kicks off in a quintessential millennial rock style—the guitars are distorted, but controlled. The music is hook-driven, bursting with a slightly geeky energy and radiates all the angst you’d expect from their aforementioned experiences as Glasgow grocery workers.

At least, that’s how the record begins. Two of the singles, “Plasticene” and “Manners”, touch on the work of the Strokes and Weezer, and the intricate drum work pitted against basic chordal elements even recalls Blink 182 at times. However, the album begins its descent into a rawer mood very early on. Just as we’re beginning to warm to their style, the band make the risky decision to keep their boppy guitar work, but they sub their vocals out for more distorted, angsty ones. The Weezer vibe remains at times. “Dreams on Demand” is very reminiscent of LA’s original nerd rockers, but from about a third of the way through the album, it becomes a case of “heard one, heard them all.” The style will certainly appeal to some listeners, but the energetic positivity of the guitar work and the monotonal, disaffected vocals are too contradictory to be effective. Weezer, on the other hand, were able to get away with their overly upbeat guitar work by complementing it with similarly positive vocals. Sadly, the match-up is too jarring for WOMPS.

This issue could have perhaps been avoided by waiting a few tracks to descend into those feedback-laced vocal stylings. As it is, however, this set feels as if the band have recorded the first three tracks and then decided to completely change their vocals, without altering the other tracks at all. The result is a lack of consistency which rapidly becomes nauseating. This repetition becomes especially hard to handle after having heard just how effectively the band could pull off a more controlled, yet still creative, style in the opening portion of the album. - Pop Matters


The new single from WOMPS may be called “Manners”, but this Scottish duo is more apt to smash the table in half than to set the silverware. Coming from that fertile crescent of post-punk known as Glasgow, these guys specialize in sharp, loud guitar riffs that cut straight through whatever the drums haven’t already pulverized. “Manners” is a perfect microcosm of their angsty, hook-heavy sound, which doesn’t shy away from pop elements even as it rubs its nose in the dirt. “I think we were going for an indie Gang of Four thing,” the band notes, to which we can only say, “Mission: Accomplished.”


“Manners” will appear on the band’s forthcoming debut LP, Our Fertile Forever, which was recorded by legendary producer Steve Albini at his Electric Audio studio in Chicago. The album is due out June 10th via Displaced Records and The Orchard. Listen in to “Manners” below. - Consequence of Sound


Glasgow, Scotland’s WOMPS will release their debut album, titled Our Fertile Forever, on June 10. As mentioned, the record was made with Steve Albini and his Electrical Audio studio in Chicago, and the band definitely have a little Pixies and Nirvana in them. (A little Wedding Present too.) You don’t hear that so much, however, on the catchy new single “Plasticine,” an emotive, anthemic song with a stick-in-your-head chorus. That makes its premiere in this post and you can stream it, along with a couple other songs off the album, below.

WOMPS were just in the U.S. for SXSW (you may have seen them last year at CMJ, too) and are currently laying low back in Scotland. Stay tuned for new tour dates. Meanwhile, you can check out the album art and tracklist, below. - Brooklyn Vegan


Womps have released a video for Manners.

The track is cut from the Glasgow band's debut album, 'Our Fertile Forever', which was recorded by Steve Albini and came out in June via Displaced/Orchard Records.

Discussing the video with the 405, who premiered it, the band said:

"We essentially wanted to make a video that's visually representative of the sound, scene we admire and style we're moving towards. To do this we shot with Kristoffer Muir at Broadscope studios on an old handycam then filmed through the lens of the handycam with another one. We just really liked old footage from Glasgow bands like The Pastels. The concept is somewhat in-keeping with the album art but I'll leave that to the viewer." - Stereoboard


Our Fertile Forever, the debut LP from Scottish duo WOMPS, has been one of 2016's most pleasing little slices of indie rock. The ten-track collection is packed to capacity with intoxicating hooks and a palpable energy that it is simply infectious. Now, one of the album's strongest tracks, 'Manners', has a jaggedly striking video accompaniment.

Presented through a purplish VHS haze, 'Manners' takes on a new life as WOMPS romps and rollicks through this stomping number. The simple kit make up of drummer Owen Wicksted punches and pounds as an insatiable guitar hook kicks up through the mix. The band's late '80s/early '90s Glasgow influences are imbued with a top flight pop sensibility here, and the video’s presentation reflects this.

"We essentially wanted to make a video that's visually representative of the sound, scene we admire and style we're moving towards," said vocalist/guitarist Ewan Grant. "To do this we shot with Kristoffer Muir at Broadscope studios on an old handycam then filmed through the lens of the handycam with another one. We just really liked old footage from Glasgow bands like The Pastels. The concept is somewhat in-keeping with the album art but I'll leave that to the viewer."

Listen to 'Manners' below and check out Our Fertile Forever. - The 405


Glaswegian rockers WOMPS pay tribute to the scene that nurtured them with their new video for their song ‘Manners’. Taken from their debut album ‘Our Fertile Forever’, the simple, hazy imagery is a conscious throwback to the throwback style employed by the likes of The Pastels.

‘We essentially wanted to make a video that’s visually representative of the sound, scene we admire and style we’re moving towards. To do this we shot with Kristoffer Muir at Broadscope studios on an old handycam then filmed through the lens of the handycam with another one. We just really liked old footage from Glasgow bands like The Pastels. The concept is somewhat in-keeping with the album art but I’ll leave that to the viewer.’

The duo’s stripped-down garage-inspired alt-rock has earned plaudits from the likes of Consequence Of Sound and KEXP, and has taken them to Radio 1’s Big Weekend and SXSW. ‘Our Fertile Forever’, produced by none other than Steve Albini, is available on most platforms through Displaced/Orchard Records. - Hooting and Howling


https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2015/jul/20/the-playlist-new-bands-the-age-of-luna-courts-womps-mirror-signal-and-seouel - The Guardian


Glasgow has always been a rock city.

Sure, it's trendy indie and electronic offshoots may capture the headlines but Glasgow has proved adept at fostering a unique rock sensibility. Hell, AC/DC's Angus Young was born here.

Algernon Doll make rock music, but this isn't some arena bluster. New album 'Omphalic' is packed with ideas, with shades of post-hardcore or even the early phase of what would eventually be known as emo.

Sloping, acerbic guitar music, the band's ready wit and off kilter rhythms recall Pavement or even current darlings Cloud Nothing.

For those just getting acquainted with the group, Clash has a treat. 'Candy Striped' is already a live favourite, and sits as one of the centrepieces of recent LP 'Omphalic'.

Given the visual treatment, the imaginative, DIY nature of the video echoes the music itself.

Tune in now. - Clash Magazine


Image ^^ - Artrocker Magazine


t's the same year that Mudhoney release their eponymous debut, the year that Soundgarden's Louder Than Love and Screaming Trees' Buzz Factory also appear. It's 1989, and somewhere in Scotland, Ewan Grant is born.

There wouldn't be much to connect these events were it not for the fact that the music Grant makes as Algernon Doll is a blood brother to the grunge bands of that era. You can hear it in embryo form - chorus effects on the guitars, smash and snarl on the drums - on last year's Citalo-pop album; it's now a much more polished entity on new long-player Omphalic. So how did a boy from over here get so into the music from over there?

"When I was about 13, I used to not eat lunch, save up and buy a CD after a couple of weeks with my lunch money," he explains. "And I'd always buy Sub Pop releases. I don't know why. I think I went to Mono and they had a Sub Pop compilation, and that got me into a bunch of stuff."

We're sitting in the appropriate surroundings of Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow. He's sporting a beard, a tapestry of tattoos and has a skateboard on the seat beside him. He certainly looks the part - and, when I caught Algernon Doll at the goNORTH festival in Inverness earlier this month, a riot of noise in a packed Market Bar, sounds it too. But Grant never actually wanted to be the new Kurt Cobain. If anything, he'd rather have been the new Elliott Smith.

The influence of his "favourite songwriter" is all over Algernon Doll's 2012 debut, Camomile. On the surface, it's nothing like its two follow-ups, more woozily acoustic and confessional.

"I did the first album for fun," he admits. "Well, I do them all for fun, but I didn't want to put that one out. I sent it to a couple of people, and they were so into it… although I thought that was really weird. All I'd ever done before that was hardcore punk, and I was kind of bored with that.

"Then I made the second one [Citalo-pop], and it's pretty much acoustic songs that we tried with distortion, and it worked. This new one's got more dynamics, I think, because we definitely set out to make a band record."

I agree with Grant's description of the development of his music: he writes at first as a singer-songwriter then layers up each song with feedback, multiple guitars and other instruments. That's why, I reckon, there's a better melodic core to his music than on many of those original grunge records, which were all about the style but rarely about the tune. Omphalic boasts plenty of potential singles, notably Spilt Milk Perfume and Sweet Nothing. However, I do take issue with his description of doing Camomile "for fun". It's a serious album about serious things.

"It made me feel better," he acknowledges. "I was really sad then and I'm not so sad any more. I had undiagnosed bipolar stuff going on. I realise now it's more of a physical thing rather than me just being miserable. At that point I thought I was just a miserable guy. Now … I don't feel sorry for myself any more."

He laughs modestly when he says this, but there was a tragedy underpinning the emotion of the album. "When I was 17, two of my friends died in the river," he explains. "I'm originally from Perth, and they both died, fell into the river and drowned. So I've been writing about that for three albums. A lot of water things. And that brought on why I got really upset. But I can look back on it a lot clearer now."

Grant has definitely moved on as a writer - the evidence of that is all over Omphalic - and as a performer. Previously, the adrenaline rush of playing live would mess up his mental state and cause panic attacks; now he is relishing a run of bookings that last month saw Algernon Doll open the BBC Introducing Stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend in Glasgow. The band (supplemented live by bass player Wull Swales and drummer Owen Wickstead) have just begun a UK tour, while the Wickerman Festival beckons at the end of next month before their first-ever European dates begin in September and October.

After that, it'll be straight into recording album number four, this time with the band rather than solely Grant and his drummer friend Tom Mitchell, as on Omphalic. The big news is that he's lined up the legendary Steve Albini of Big Black and Shellac to record it in Chicago (it should be noted that Omphalic was mastered by Albini's Shellac bandmate, Bob Weston). How does someone who's still unsigned make such connections?

"With Bob, it was just email conversations," Grant says, matter-of-fact. "I've never met him. I could have flown across to Chicago but I don't have the money. With Steve, we'll do it in a shorter time than a label band would do, but he's not unreasonable. I think it's going to cost something like £2500 to record an album, which is pretty good - more than we'd normally pay - but we'll fund it somehow."

It's 2014, and Nirvana albums are released as limited edition box sets while Soundgarden's Chris Cornell has sung a James Bond theme song. But, somewhere in Scotland, someone has just heard Algernon Doll for the first time…

Omphalic is released tomorrow via Struggletown Records; go to algernondoll.bandcamp.com. For Algernon Doll's Scottish live dates, including Harley's Bar, Ayr on July 2 and Opium, Edinburgh on July 3, see www.facebook.com/AlgernonDoll/ - The Herald


With their album Omphalic recently released through Struggletown Records, Algernon Doll premieres the video for “Sweet Nothing”, an animated collage by Chloe Turner. As frontman Ewan Grant has expanded his vision to a trio while honing in on the ’90s alternative affectations with a little help from Shellac’s Bob Weston—plenty of buzz has been circulating through the pipelines about Algernon Doll preparing to record their upcoming follow up with the producer who needs little to no introduction; the great Steve Albini.

Here in the living still-life, vintage video pastiche, Chloe Turner turns Algernon Doll’s sound of “Sweet Nothing” into a free-play animated set of intersecting retro ads and arts. Landscapes of trees, highways, mountains, lakes, pools, and streams get Mod Podge’d with spliced images of vacationers, adventurers, and others. The scale, size, and blending of images creates an alternate world of giant babies, nuns, to random characters that interfere and interact with the cut-and-paste selection of settings ripped straight out of your great-grandma’s hoarded magazine stockpile. Turner’s video jogs all the switches that turn time inside out, where Ewan’s retro-vertigo reverences found on “Sweet Nothing” are displayed like a moving modern art gallery display that makes the entire twentieth century feel like they were defined by the 80s and 90s undergrounds. For more on this and thoughts on the upcoming opportunity to record the next Algernon Doll album with Steve Albini, we give you our recent conversation with Ewan Grant:

What sorts of ephemeral items lead to the creation of the single, “Sweet Nothing”, and accompanying animated visual?

Well, I didn’t make the video but I can only assume Chloe Turner uses a mixture of photographs and/or witchcraft/magic. As far as musically, it’s a product of coffee granules, duct tape and skateboards. It’s a chord progression I had when I was 16/17 so youth is ephemeral I guess.


Describe for us the making of the album Omphalic, and how it was different from writing and recording your previous records.

With this record I wrote every song bar on the night before recording. It wasn’t my initial plan but I think everything came out a lot more honest. Music is best when you don’t over-analyze it and I think this way, I was more excited about the songs as they were so fresh and that comes across in the recordings.

Myself and Tom did a lot of skateboarding when the sun was out and then recording when it got too dark so it was a really great time, very relaxed.

As you prepare to record with Steve Albini this fall, what are you looking forward to with this experience, and what are some of the various goals and accomplishments that you have in mind for these forthcoming sessions, and more?

Our goal is to get a very real representation of the songs and where we are as a band. We’re doing it all live and on tape so we won’t be changing any sections or fixing any mistakes. Recording with Albini has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember so it’s definitely upped my song-writing. We’re away out on tour to road test all the songs so they’re all
pretty tight before going to Chicago.

Our goal is to make the least perfect but most admirable punk rock record and take it to the US moving forward. The response in North America has been very positive so we’re aiming to do some big tours over there to spread the word.

Algernon Doll’s Omphalic LP is available now from Struggletown Records. - IMPOSE Magazine


Prior to the release of Omphalic, Alergon Doll functioned as the solo vehicle of Glasgow singer-songwriter Ewan Grant, whose first two albums, Camomile and Citalo-pop, veered between fuzzy overdriven rock and strains of ambient folk. Both gained him a fair amount of praise and not surprisingly, his introspective songwriting also earned him a few comparisons to Elliot Smith, which is nothing to sneeze at. For his third album Omphalic, Grant has expanded Algernon Doll into a full band unit with the addition of members Wull Swales on bass and Owen Wicksted on drums and not surprisingly, Omphalic feels like an actual band effort, and with the added personnel have come a couple of noticeable changes: for one, the folk and ambient (which felt oddly constraining at times) from the first two Doll albums has been swapped out in favor of bright 90s alternative pop while the fuzzy overdriven grunge is retained.

Considering he's just 24, chances are Grant probably doesn't remember many of his influences the first time around when they were gracing the airwaves of college radio stations or the stage of MTV's 120 minutes, but his previous albums as Algernon Doll have never come off as misplaced nostalgia trips, and neither does this one. If anything, he presents something of an alternate take on his influences while at the same time using them a reference point to build his own sound off of. Another thing is just as the the music has taken a poppier direction, so has Grant's songwriting, and as a result, Omphalic boasts arguably some of the strongest and catchiest hook-filled songs that he has written so far. Look no further than the coulda been a Gin Blossoms outtake opener 'Spilt Milk Perfume' or the subsequent 'Justine' as just a couple of examples of how much his songwriting has grown in just the span of a year.

WATCH | Algernon Doll - 'Spilt Milk Perfume'


It isn't a major leap forward so much as it is a continuous process of refinement, as last year's Citalo​-​pop pointed to this direction at least to some extent. You take 'Cassini' or maybe even 'Home-schooled' from that album and slip them onto the tracklist of Omphalic and chances are, you probably wouldn't notice anything out of the ordinary. If anything, the difference has more to do with the shift towards a brighter sound itself, which in turn allows the songwriting greater room to flourish. But Omphalic isn't all high-fructose harmonies and chiming guitars though; there are still plenty of sonically abrasive grunge-driven songs like ‘Fellate’, ‘Suicide’, and 'Relate' that give the album much needed contrast and are a lot of fun to play at high volume. Still, they aren't nearly as interesting as the poppier and more vulnerable territory Grant explores on songs like the positively heartbroken 'Sweet Nothing' or the beautifully melancholic 'Pink and Blue'.

And there are some moments like on 'Suicide' and 'Fellate' where his influences are a bit on-the-nose, but the sheer catchiness and energy of his songwriting make even those minor missteps forgivable and fun because frankly, they aren't worth dwelling on. With the expansion of his one-time bedroom project into a full fledged band, the slight shift in musical direction, and the richness and depth of both the songwriting and the music, it's tempting to label Ompalic as one of the best Algernon Doll albums yet. But when you consider how quickly someone like Ewan Grant is evolving as an artist, and how he manages to push his music into different directions with each release while remaining true to its core values and its overall simplicity, it makes claims like that feel slightly premature. If anything, Omphalic is the sound of an artist who is coming into his own and one who is just getting started.
Read more at http://hangout.altsounds.com/reviews/166595-review-algernon-doll-omphalic-album.html#3zHyfDC7SuM7m1tY.99 - Alt Sounds


My Album of the Week is from Algernon Doll aka Ewan Grant, who releases Citalo-pop tomorrow. Algernon Doll’s wonky sound returns in this collection, with distortion effects fuzzing up the vocal and guitar parts to create an imaginative, distinctive landscape. The album opens up on a perky note, with Algernon Doll traversing less obviously reflexive territory than on previous album Camomile. ‘Anti-them’ has powerhouse percussion and bright fuzzy guitars that provide an almost glam backdrop for Grant’s sweet voice and fragile lyrics: “I don’t know what it is that makes me want to die but it’s strong”. ‘Cassini’ turns up the rhythm rate on the tambourine and the distortion levels on the guitar. The soundscape has a sense of spiraling loosely out of control whilst the vocals remain on point. ‘Home-schooled’ is a quieter affair: an intimate reflection for the most part that explodes into freeform guitar noise and hollered lyrics at the end. Grant’s plaintive wails on ‘Aerosol’ tug at the heartstrings, whilst ‘Cut-throat kid’ is a meditation on life told through the medium of a fuzzed up garage band: “you should love me all the same”. Cittalo-pop is a raw and expressive collection from an articulate young songwriter. Highly recommended. - The Whiteboard Project


PRINT - Artrocker Magazine



Album Review: Algernon Doll - Camomile

Written by MisterCharlie
16 Nov 2012
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Release Date 16 Nov 2012

Algernon Doll is the brain child of Ewan Grant, a Scottish musician who’s turned away from his punk roots to record a gnarled, complex folk album. Through Camomile Grant tries to come to terms with bouts of extreme anxiety and bipolar disorder, and unsurprisingly the album is often a bleak affair. Whilst the influence of singer/songwriter touchstones Jeff Buckley and Damien Rice can be heard on the more traditional tracks; the keening Styrofoam Cup, and the potent, heartfelt Feather to Fall, it’s their combination with more off kilter surprises that elevate Camomile.



At times the syncopated rhythms and unexpected passages have Grant sounding like a one man, unplugged Radiohead- high praise indeed. Son Of A Gun, Brother to None has a jerky guitar spike for a rhythm, all sharp elbows and unforgiving angles, as Grant sings, embattled, ‘waking out of breath// seems to disconnect your heart from your chest’. On I Tried he layers dense orchestral backing and finger plucked guitar into a maze of sound, a dark, foreboding forest for his voice to emerge from. Album closer Camomile begins as a final delicate shot of pain, before plunging into an apocalypse of furious strings and feedback, a shattering conclusion to a decent debut. 8/10
- Supajam


You’re sitting in front of your computer. You’ve just downloaded Camomile, the debut album by Algernon Doll. Eagerly you press play. A sorrowful yet nostalgic piano begins to play. In come the strings, an eerie sound adding an anxiety to the piece. The piano stops. The strings go on slowly fading out. Where is this going you wonder. Bang! In comes a jolly acoustic finger picked guitar that couldn’t be more out of place. What the hell just happened you wonder, did my iTunes break?

The first track on this album should be ’Spiral Sounds’, the first track on the album is ‘The Great Western Snowfield’, described above, they just don’t fit skip track one it works much better.

There is a depth and an anxiety to this album that goes beyond the lyrics and remains consistent from start to finish.

There are a lot of levels instrumentally and there is a lot going on but it is done very subtly and it is very well mixed.

As a result you will find an album that doesn’t get old, on the flip side you probably won’t notice the first time through.

in association with

I can’t think of anything to realistically compare this to, it’s unique musically and vocally. Go listen for yourself!

Suggested tracks: ‘Son of a Gun, Brother to None’, ‘Feather to Fall’

Algernon Doll

Words: Robin Sapkota - Hard Copy


ith their album Omphalic recently released through Struggletown Records, Algernon Doll premieres the video for “Sweet Nothing”, an animated collage by Chloe Turner. As frontman Ewan Grant has expanded his vision to a trio while honing in on the ’90s alternative affectations with a little help from Shellac’s Bob Weston—plenty of buzz has been circulating through the pipelines about Algernon Doll preparing to record their upcoming follow up with the producer who needs little to no introduction; the great Steve Albini.

Here in the living still-life, vintage video pastiche, Chloe Turner turns Algernon Doll’s sound of “Sweet Nothing” into a free-play animated set of intersecting retro ads and arts. Landscapes of trees, highways, mountains, lakes, pools, and streams get Mod Podge’d with spliced images of vacationers, adventurers, and others. The scale, size, and blending of images creates an alternate world of giant babies, nuns, to random characters that interfere and interact with the cut-and-paste selection of settings ripped straight out of your great-grandma’s hoarded magazine stockpile. Turner’s video jogs all the switches that turn time inside out, where Ewan’s retro-vertigo reverences found on “Sweet Nothing” are displayed like a moving modern art gallery display that makes the entire twentieth century feel like they were defined by the 80s and 90s undergrounds. For more on this and thoughts on the upcoming opportunity to record the next Algernon Doll album with Steve Albini, we give you our recent conversation with Ewan Grant:

What sorts of ephemeral items lead to the creation of the single, “Sweet Nothing”, and accompanying animated visual?

Well, I didn’t make the video but I can only assume Chloe Turner uses a mixture of photographs and/or witchcraft/magic. As far as musically, it’s a product of coffee granules, duct tape and skateboards. It’s a chord progression I had when I was 16/17 so youth is ephemeral I guess.


Describe for us the making of the album Omphalic, and how it was different from writing and recording your previous records.

With this record I wrote every song bar on the night before recording. It wasn’t my initial plan but I think everything came out a lot more honest. Music is best when you don’t over-analyze it and I think this way, I was more excited about the songs as they were so fresh and that comes across in the recordings.

Myself and Tom did a lot of skateboarding when the sun was out and then recording when it got too dark so it was a really great time, very relaxed.

As you prepare to record with Steve Albini this fall, what are you looking forward to with this experience, and what are some of the various goals and accomplishments that you have in mind for these forthcoming sessions, and more?

Our goal is to get a very real representation of the songs and where we are as a band. We’re doing it all live and on tape so we won’t be changing any sections or fixing any mistakes. Recording with Albini has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember so it’s definitely upped my song-writing. We’re away out on tour to road test all the songs so they’re all
pretty tight before going to Chicago.

Our goal is to make the least perfect but most admirable punk rock record and take it to the US moving forward. The response in North America has been very positive so we’re aiming to do some big tours over there to spread the word.

Algernon Doll’s Omphalic LP is available now from Struggletown Records. - IMPOSE Magazine


Nihilism and jaded optimism converge as Ewan Grant (guitar, vocals) and Owen Wicksted (drums, bass, synths) meet resulting in angst driven, melodic hook-heavy pop songs with garage sensibilities.

A hunger to be creatively honest in a country so hell-bent on condemning original ideas and self expression has driven WOMPS from working supermarket jobs to playing big stages in the short time since their formation. The band have already toured Europe, UK and the east coast of the US including performances at CMJ, London Calling and Radio One’s big weekend festivals. Picking up support along the way from worldwide press including Consequence of Sound, The Guardian, and Brooklyn Vegan. Their debut LP Our Fertile Forever was released on June 10, 2016 on Displaced Records

Northern Transmissions spoke to Ewan about their latest album and what the experience was like working with Steve Albini.

Northern Transmissions: Hey Ewan, thanks for taking the time to talk to Northern Transmissions and congrats on the upcoming release. How has it been received so far?

Ewan Grant: I’m just noticing it’s doing really well in Japan which is weird. It seems to be going well in the States and Japan, and from what I’ve seen here. The scene here is so small, it’s hard to tell.

Northern Transmissions: Yeah, I know you were remarking about the scene there, and how it’s just different to judge how well received it is.

Ewan Grant: Yeah, basically just London and Manchester and places like that that are good indicators. Glasgow is just our hometown, we’ve sold lots of records. We need to order some more. We’ve got a lot of record because the label is over in America, and there’s obviously a far bigger market over there.

Northern Transmissions: Has there been any backlash to signing with the Brooklyn label, the name or the music you’ve been putting out as WOMPS?

Ewan Grant: I don’t think anyone knows who our label is, which is a good [laughs]. We’re not even sure. I know they’re tied to Sony and Domino and stuff like that. I think we’re the first thing they’ve put out, so it’s hard to judge. We don’t really mention it much.

Northern Transmissions: WOMPS is quite far from your solo venture, what made you want to shift to the new material you’ve been putting out?

Ewan Grant: Just Owen our drummer, and cause we had to do it live. We didn’t have all the nice trickery in the studio that we used to use at least. Had to learn how to sing and stuff cause I used to cheat with that all the time.

Northern Transmissions: What kind of headspace were you in going in to this album, versus your solo work?

Ewan Grant: It was more of just being in a band and documenting it. Like all those Dischord Records releases and stuff like that they liked just because they’re documents of bands, so we thought we’d do that and after the first day of getting to know Steve Albini and being intimidated by him anymore. The first day was a little bit of a write-off because he’s a little bit scary for an hour, but he’s just a lot of fun. He just encourages you to have fun making music. There wasn’t much concept behind it really [laughs]

Northern Transmissions: You mentioned that with your solo stuff you knew what it was going to sound like before you recorded it – what was your vision like going into this album and did you know you really wanted to capture the energy of a live show on the record

Ewan Grant: Yeah well I thought we’d try to make a record that was like Surfer Rosa, but the thing about doing it live is you’re going to sound like yourself, which is a good thing.

Northern Transmissions: Was that one of the main influences for doing it live?

Ewan Grant: Yeah that and we had some money saved up and we just wanted to do something with Steve, and he did Cloud Nothings a couple of years before that and we really liked the drums on that record. There was a point where we were ripping them off a lot but we scraped all those tracks from the record [laughs]

Northern Transmissions: I was hoping to get a really nice snapshot of the process of working with Steve Albini and writing and recording the album. You said you recorded it over five days

Ewan Grant: Probably less than that really. The Wednesday night we did four of the songs in a row. He just kind of keeps the tape rolling until he thinks you’re tired, he doesn’t have hours he just cycles back. He wears this ridiculous cycling outfit, and just cycles miles back home to his cat and his wife. He mixes it in like five minutes because there’s only… I don’t know how many tracks there, not many at all. And then he’ll go look at guns on eBay, or play Scrabble or something like that on his laptop [laughs] to give his ears a rest, and then go on rants about corn syrup or something like that. He thinks America is doomed by the corn syrup industry. We don’t have corn syrup here so I don’t know.

Northern Transmissions: What is the most important moment of the album for you? Or perhaps a song that encompasses the album as a whole?

Ewan Grant: My favourite tracks are “How Are You” and “Gift From God” but they’re so different. “How Are You” is like when I was starting to enjoy playing guitar. I listened to a lot of Johnny Marr and I finally got a chance to do something like that. That’s a probably an good indicator of where we’re going. I think because it took so long to come out some of the tracks didn’t really… like another band there, trying to get away from the garage rock thing. It’s good when you start though, it’s an easy entry to making an album.

Northern Transmissions: Tell me a little about the story behind the album cover I know you said that it’s kind of like a glass half full in a way.

Ewan Grant: Yeah we were looking at like Roman and Greek gods of fertility and all the male ones are just massive penis gods so we couldn’t put that on the record cover cause we’re not Death Grips [laughs] There’s a painting that’s like that photograph so we just reenacted it. A lot of people thought there was a breast-feeding thing that we were getting at behind there. We didn’t really mean that but that’s cool. The glass half full thing is just creating art to pass the time. It gives life purpose. We’re both very cynical and don’t have any religious beliefs or anything like that so it’s just something to pass the time that’s positive.

Northern Transmissions: Finally what do you have in stock for the rest of the year? What are you most excited about for the rest of this year?

Ewan Grant: We got offered a few tours in America and Canada which we really want to do, they’re just support tours. So we have to figure that out and figure the visa situation cause I know that can take a few months. So we’ll do that, maybe CMJ in New York. Start writing a record and think about who to go with. I’ve been listening to a lot of Glasgow from the 80s. I think we can do some sort of Jesus and the Mary Chain or the Pastels thing. That would be a nice road to go down, lots of reverb.

interview by Sean Carlin - Northern Transmissions


There is something distinctly nineties about WOMPS debut LP. Whether it stems from some of Ewan Grant and Owen Wicksted’s own influences seeping into their collaborative work or having the masterful Steve Albini shaping their sound from behind the scenes, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that gives it that feel. The Glasgow based two-some, formed from the ashes of Algernon Doll, have already picked up a loyal following – and it’s understandable given their incredible knack for delivering rough around the edges garage rock with a classic pop sentimentality without ever seeming out of their comfort zone.

Throughout the album there is a slightly unpolished finish to it and there are no exceptions with the first track “Plasticine”. The opener comes under the guise of a well-crafted indie number that splices together Wicksted’s crashing drums and Grant’s melodic, wavering voice that at times shows shades of early Cribs work, especially around the chorus.

Its tracks like “Live A Little Less” – the band’s first single – that show off WOMPS‘ scrappy enthusiasm and the strong lyrical ability that got them this far. With far more of a grunge element to it than “Plasticine” and the previous track “Manners”, it’s easy to see how it brought them to people’s attention. It’s as sharp as it is bold with punchy disjointed guitar and the frenetically played drums that channel everything from Teenage Fanclub to Local H.

There is something distinctly nineties about WOMPS debut LP. Whether it stems from some of Ewan Grant and Owen Wicksted’s own influences seeping into their collaborative work or having the masterful Steve Albini shaping their sound from behind the scenes, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that gives it that feel. The Glasgow based two-some, formed from the ashes of Algernon Doll, have already picked up a loyal following – and it’s understandable given their incredible knack for delivering rough around the edges garage rock with a classic pop sentimentality without ever seeming out of their comfort zone.

Throughout the album there is a slightly unpolished finish to it and there are no exceptions with the first track “Plasticine”. The opener comes under the guise of a well-crafted indie number that splices together Wicksted’s crashing drums and Grant’s melodic, wavering voice that at times shows shades of early Cribs work, especially around the chorus.

Its tracks like “Live A Little Less” – the band’s first single – that show off WOMPS‘ scrappy enthusiasm and the strong lyrical ability that got them this far. With far more of a grunge element to it than “Plasticine” and the previous track “Manners”, it’s easy to see how it brought them to people’s attention. It’s as sharp as it is bold with punchy disjointed guitar and the frenetically played drums that channel everything from Teenage Fanclub to Local H.


“Ritalin”, is a straight up punk number that sees the band’s more angsty mentality come out as they screech and roar their way through one of the best tracks on the album. It’s unrefined and raw but has a great boorish charm and energy that makes it hard to ignore.

Perhaps the stand out on an album that has no bad recordings, “How Are You?”, is one of a few of the band’s ‘despondent about love’ tracks and is, at its core, a great alternative pop track. But it’s the vulnerability in Grant’s voice as he delivers its first line, “There is no such thing as love”, that pushes it that one step further into great all round track territory.

The closer from WOMPS showcases their ability to change gears and switch between genres as they dip into the synth sound of The Cure with an 80s inspired new wave conclusion. Inherently different from how “Our Fertile Forever” opened, we hear a vastly changed sound to anything on the album. “Gift From God” is that slicker, glossed sound that proves that they are not just a one trick pony.

It’s not uncommon for bands to hit it out of the park on their first attempt but it’s certainly rare to manage it with an album that features no weak tracks. Not since Titus Andronicus’ 2010 release of “The Monitor” has the garage scene been treated to a record as rich and full as “Our Fertile Forever”.

This WOMPS article was written by Adam Stevenson, a GIGsoup contributor - Gig Soup


With lean trebly riffs over whines and wails, hummable hooks, and precise rhythms, Our Fertile Forever marks the official birth of a band that’s already earned plenty of fans at home in Glasgow and abroad. WOMPS’ debut ranges widely, from thunderous tracks to tunes that tap into a sort of post-angst introspection, indicating a group averse to churning out safe singles all of one style.

Guitarist and vocalist Ewan Grant – previously established as Algernon Doll – has taken some heat for moving on, but his continued alliance with drummer Owen Wicksted is a reason to rejoice. Plasticine, the LP’s opening track, establishes this group’s melodic craftsmanship right away, and they keep delivering.

Modest about their talents – they try to write pop, but just aren’t good at it, Grant and Wicksted have both quipped – Our Fertile Forever proves they can write the kind of songs that play as well in a basement club as they do a car stereo: cranked, to battle the wind. - The Skinny


Ahead of an appearance at Brew at the Bog, Glasgow duo WOMPS look forward to dropping their debut in June, and reflect on their fertile collaboration, recording with Steve Albini, and shaking off labels

It’s a hot mid-March in Austin, Texas. Ewan Grant and Owen Wicksted of WOMPS, joined by touring bassist Scott McCall, are enjoying a well-earned craft brew on the deck of a bar called Cheer Up Charlie’s. This is the furthest west they’ve traveled – their usual North American haunts are Brooklyn bars where they found audiences that helped springboard them to Chicago and Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio, where the prolific engineer recorded their debut LP, Our Fertile Forever.

The album will drop on the 10th of June – the band will then tour the UK, appear at a few European festivals (starting with Brew at the Bog), then return for a trip through the US. Right now, after playing their first show at SxSW – a wake-up wail that got broad-backed Texan bikers and owlish audiophiles dancing and bobbing – they’re happy to be away from the Glaswegian supermarkets that (for now) keep them regrettably employed, and doing instead the things that led to the formation of WOMPS: hammering out loud, melodic rock and turning each other on to new music.

“We like to think we write great pop songs, but we’re not that good at it,” says Wicksted with a chuckle. His comment may be humble and just a bit deflective, but it lands near the truth. While songs like Dreams on Demand and Ritalin can be searing and screechy, the first track off the debut album, Plasticine, spills the secret to WOMPS’ success: by exactly the fifth note plucked on bass, you know that Grant and Wicksted are melodic craftsmen. Behind every splash, whine, and shouted chorus, a tuneful pop sensibility directs these songs down the ear canal to that part of the brain that says 'hell yes' and 'thank you'.

The band’s viscera might echo classic Dead Kennedys, but they’ve been shaped by the crash and suck of successive breakers: new wave, grunge, new new wave, 2000s indie and screamo – but perhaps most evidently The Cure, The Smiths, or The Cribs. Unlike those bands, though, WOMPS boast that uniquely Scottish sense of melody. “It’s because of our accents, they go up and down,” Grant says. “I guess we just put that into our songs.”

The demise of Algernon Doll and aspiring to Surfer Rosa

WOMPS is quite far from the sound of Grant's former introspective solo venture turned power trio, Algernon Doll; that outfit could be unabashedly grungy but more often trebly, atmospheric and ambient. Some of Algernon Doll's harder moments (like Fellate) might have been ground up and tossed into what’s now become WOMPS’ wheelhouse, but this is undeniably a departure – a state these two seem very, very comfortable with.

Algernon Doll was “mainly a solo project,” Grant explains a week later, over Skype. He wrote and played all the parts himself, so the drums in particular could sound off. “With that stuff I knew what it was going to sound like before I recorded it,” he says, dissatisfaction on his tongue even now. His collaboration with and respect for Wicksted opened up a new – yes, fertile – space.

Fueled by their collaboration and cross-pollination, what most defines this new sound is their straightforward performance ethic, whether onstage or in the studio. “We did it all live,” Grant says – not so much because of the cost of recording at Electric Audio, which was “affordable,” but to “stay real.”

They cite another Albini production – Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, also recorded live – as a model, and while you won’t hear too much fumbling or any studio banter on Our Fertile Forever, the live ethic is evident, especially on songs like the hard-hitting Another Cell and the peaky Ritalin.

Grant and Wicksted arrived in Chicago nervous to work with the prolific Albini, but he dispelled any anxiety with a straightforward, unobtrusive approach, and plenty of “fluffy coffees,” a studio staple. “He just gave us a pencil and some paper and told us to write down everything we wanted to do with our record,” says Grant. “You just have to tell him.”

Preferring the label of recording engineer to producer, Albini positions mics and mixes – “in five minutes” – and keeps bands playing until he senses they’re tired out. WOMPS recorded Our Fertile Forever over five days – all live – and even recorded four or five tracks in one night, on a fluffy-fueled roll.

Seeking the “real” in the studio, they do the same onstage. “We don’t have any set guitar and drum parts,” Grant explains, “so sometimes it can go horribly wrong.” But this elasticity also allows the songs to change, and keep up with the band as they seek something else, something new.

Grant and Wicksted insist on freedom, and talk often, though never with the self-surety of a manifesto, of avoiding one style or another. They’ve even steered clear of generic affiliations in their band art. It’s the artist’s balancing act – to love what’s been done, but to avoid repeating it. After all, once coined, labels can only limit. Grant and Wicksted respect DIY, for example, but the label and mentality can trap bands. “DIY’s great but if you can get help, why would you turn that down?” Wicksted remarks. The freedom of isolation is not the kind of freedom they’re after. “Just get drunk and give someone a cigarette when they need a cigarette,” Grant says. “That’s how we got everything.”

They allude even to friends and fellow bands who questioned their decision to tour in the US and come to a festival like Sx. Some of this comes from public blowback for the dissolution of Algernon Doll – “people are still mad,” Grant says – but some comes from what they call a “Scottish mentality” – they cite Mark Renton’s infamous Trainspotting monologue. They speak of Glasgow bands that would “love to be really big in Glasgow,” but burn out playing the same venues and scrapping with other local acts for fans.

“We can still play in Glasgow for 20 people or something,” Wicksted says, but they seem to earn fans more quickly in America – more diverse audiences, people ready to dance, to love you or cut you down, who come out with no expectation but to hear new music. That’s why WOMPS are here in Texas: they had to get out, get back on the road. “We had no other option.”

Finding a home in Brooklyn

As the first artists signed to Brooklyn-based Displaced Records, WOMPS have no idea what to expect when their LP drops in June, but anticipate a slightly better reception in Europe and the US than at home in the UK. “Glasgow’s … strange. Very strange,” is all Grant can manage to say. But they’re hopeful – looking to models of success like the Jarman brothers – that they could blast out a space preserving the lo-fi realness of DIY while avoiding its self-imposed restrictions, accessing the range and mobility of bands that have exploded out of Glasgow, but avoiding the opposite perils of hype and its concomitant expectations. “We’re just going to do what we’re going to do,” Grant says. “We want to keep it something we could change.”

And change they will – they’re already changing, letting the road and their playlists shape them. They don’t have concrete plans for the next LP, but ideas percolate. Glasgow’s own Pastels and Morrissey's old day job will likely have an influence. “We want to make a really pop album, but we won’t. It’s us, so we won’t be able to,” Grant says.

Abandoning plans for a double LP

His comment is typical in that it balances his acknowledgement of the inevitability of failure – in some form or another – with a leap into the possible. Their debut's title indicates a spirit of possibility that counterbalances the often angsty lyrics. “It’s glass half full, I guess,” says Grant. He also lets slip that there was a lot of material that didn’t make it onto this LP, most of it “punk stuff.” At one point, he and Wicksted had considered releasing it as a double-LP or separate album; the second, darker part called Our Futile Forever.

They decided against rendering their glass-half-full mentality a most ephemeral optimism, hinted at when Grant drifts back to what provoked the album, including the cuts that didn’t make it: “How the human brain copes with ‘forever,’” he says, with an awed tremor audible over 5,300 kilometres and a Skype connection – “It’s terrifying.” Melody, howls, womps, live audiences, and The Ever New – these are his answers to that terror, pressed into every track on Our Fertile Forever. “It’s the only way you can do it,” he says. “We do it by passing our time making art and making records.”

WOMPS play Brew at the Bog, Inverness on 3 Jun. Debut album Our Fertile Forever is released on 10 Jun via Displaced Records http://www.wearewomps.com - The Skinny


Ahead of an appearance at Brew at the Bog, Glasgow duo WOMPS look forward to dropping their debut in June, and reflect on their fertile collaboration, recording with Steve Albini, and shaking off labels

It’s a hot mid-March in Austin, Texas. Ewan Grant and Owen Wicksted of WOMPS, joined by touring bassist Scott McCall, are enjoying a well-earned craft brew on the deck of a bar called Cheer Up Charlie’s. This is the furthest west they’ve traveled – their usual North American haunts are Brooklyn bars where they found audiences that helped springboard them to Chicago and Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio, where the prolific engineer recorded their debut LP, Our Fertile Forever.

The album will drop on the 10th of June – the band will then tour the UK, appear at a few European festivals (starting with Brew at the Bog), then return for a trip through the US. Right now, after playing their first show at SxSW – a wake-up wail that got broad-backed Texan bikers and owlish audiophiles dancing and bobbing – they’re happy to be away from the Glaswegian supermarkets that (for now) keep them regrettably employed, and doing instead the things that led to the formation of WOMPS: hammering out loud, melodic rock and turning each other on to new music.

“We like to think we write great pop songs, but we’re not that good at it,” says Wicksted with a chuckle. His comment may be humble and just a bit deflective, but it lands near the truth. While songs like Dreams on Demand and Ritalin can be searing and screechy, the first track off the debut album, Plasticine, spills the secret to WOMPS’ success: by exactly the fifth note plucked on bass, you know that Grant and Wicksted are melodic craftsmen. Behind every splash, whine, and shouted chorus, a tuneful pop sensibility directs these songs down the ear canal to that part of the brain that says 'hell yes' and 'thank you'.

The band’s viscera might echo classic Dead Kennedys, but they’ve been shaped by the crash and suck of successive breakers: new wave, grunge, new new wave, 2000s indie and screamo – but perhaps most evidently The Cure, The Smiths, or The Cribs. Unlike those bands, though, WOMPS boast that uniquely Scottish sense of melody. “It’s because of our accents, they go up and down,” Grant says. “I guess we just put that into our songs.”

The demise of Algernon Doll and aspiring to Surfer Rosa

WOMPS is quite far from the sound of Grant's former introspective solo venture turned power trio, Algernon Doll; that outfit could be unabashedly grungy but more often trebly, atmospheric and ambient. Some of Algernon Doll's harder moments (like Fellate) might have been ground up and tossed into what’s now become WOMPS’ wheelhouse, but this is undeniably a departure – a state these two seem very, very comfortable with.

Algernon Doll was “mainly a solo project,” Grant explains a week later, over Skype. He wrote and played all the parts himself, so the drums in particular could sound off. “With that stuff I knew what it was going to sound like before I recorded it,” he says, dissatisfaction on his tongue even now. His collaboration with and respect for Wicksted opened up a new – yes, fertile – space.

Fueled by their collaboration and cross-pollination, what most defines this new sound is their straightforward performance ethic, whether onstage or in the studio. “We did it all live,” Grant says – not so much because of the cost of recording at Electric Audio, which was “affordable,” but to “stay real.”

They cite another Albini production – Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, also recorded live – as a model, and while you won’t hear too much fumbling or any studio banter on Our Fertile Forever, the live ethic is evident, especially on songs like the hard-hitting Another Cell and the peaky Ritalin.

Grant and Wicksted arrived in Chicago nervous to work with the prolific Albini, but he dispelled any anxiety with a straightforward, unobtrusive approach, and plenty of “fluffy coffees,” a studio staple. “He just gave us a pencil and some paper and told us to write down everything we wanted to do with our record,” says Grant. “You just have to tell him.”

Preferring the label of recording engineer to producer, Albini positions mics and mixes – “in five minutes” – and keeps bands playing until he senses they’re tired out. WOMPS recorded Our Fertile Forever over five days – all live – and even recorded four or five tracks in one night, on a fluffy-fueled roll.

Seeking the “real” in the studio, they do the same onstage. “We don’t have any set guitar and drum parts,” Grant explains, “so sometimes it can go horribly wrong.” But this elasticity also allows the songs to change, and keep up with the band as they seek something else, something new.

Grant and Wicksted insist on freedom, and talk often, though never with the self-surety of a manifesto, of avoiding one style or another. They’ve even steered clear of generic affiliations in their band art. It’s the artist’s balancing act – to love what’s been done, but to avoid repeating it. After all, once coined, labels can only limit. Grant and Wicksted respect DIY, for example, but the label and mentality can trap bands. “DIY’s great but if you can get help, why would you turn that down?” Wicksted remarks. The freedom of isolation is not the kind of freedom they’re after. “Just get drunk and give someone a cigarette when they need a cigarette,” Grant says. “That’s how we got everything.”

They allude even to friends and fellow bands who questioned their decision to tour in the US and come to a festival like Sx. Some of this comes from public blowback for the dissolution of Algernon Doll – “people are still mad,” Grant says – but some comes from what they call a “Scottish mentality” – they cite Mark Renton’s infamous Trainspotting monologue. They speak of Glasgow bands that would “love to be really big in Glasgow,” but burn out playing the same venues and scrapping with other local acts for fans.

“We can still play in Glasgow for 20 people or something,” Wicksted says, but they seem to earn fans more quickly in America – more diverse audiences, people ready to dance, to love you or cut you down, who come out with no expectation but to hear new music. That’s why WOMPS are here in Texas: they had to get out, get back on the road. “We had no other option.”

Finding a home in Brooklyn

As the first artists signed to Brooklyn-based Displaced Records, WOMPS have no idea what to expect when their LP drops in June, but anticipate a slightly better reception in Europe and the US than at home in the UK. “Glasgow’s … strange. Very strange,” is all Grant can manage to say. But they’re hopeful – looking to models of success like the Jarman brothers – that they could blast out a space preserving the lo-fi realness of DIY while avoiding its self-imposed restrictions, accessing the range and mobility of bands that have exploded out of Glasgow, but avoiding the opposite perils of hype and its concomitant expectations. “We’re just going to do what we’re going to do,” Grant says. “We want to keep it something we could change.”

And change they will – they’re already changing, letting the road and their playlists shape them. They don’t have concrete plans for the next LP, but ideas percolate. Glasgow’s own Pastels and Morrissey's old day job will likely have an influence. “We want to make a really pop album, but we won’t. It’s us, so we won’t be able to,” Grant says.

Abandoning plans for a double LP

His comment is typical in that it balances his acknowledgement of the inevitability of failure – in some form or another – with a leap into the possible. Their debut's title indicates a spirit of possibility that counterbalances the often angsty lyrics. “It’s glass half full, I guess,” says Grant. He also lets slip that there was a lot of material that didn’t make it onto this LP, most of it “punk stuff.” At one point, he and Wicksted had considered releasing it as a double-LP or separate album; the second, darker part called Our Futile Forever.

They decided against rendering their glass-half-full mentality a most ephemeral optimism, hinted at when Grant drifts back to what provoked the album, including the cuts that didn’t make it: “How the human brain copes with ‘forever,’” he says, with an awed tremor audible over 5,300 kilometres and a Skype connection – “It’s terrifying.” Melody, howls, womps, live audiences, and The Ever New – these are his answers to that terror, pressed into every track on Our Fertile Forever. “It’s the only way you can do it,” he says. “We do it by passing our time making art and making records.”

WOMPS play Brew at the Bog, Inverness on 3 Jun. Debut album Our Fertile Forever is released on 10 Jun via Displaced Records http://www.wearewomps.com - The Skinny


Discography

Our Fertile Forever - 2016


Photos

Bio

Nihilism and jaded optimism converge as Ewan Grant (guitar, vocals) and Owen Wicksted (drums, bass, synths) meet resulting in angst driven, melodic hook-heavy pop songs with garage sensibilities.

Children of the 90s, inspired by the 80s Glasgow scene, Scottish post-punk/new wave duo WOMPS are carving out a place of their own with their debut LP, "Our Fertile Forever" released on Brooklyn label, Displaced Records. The past year has seen the band playing worldwide showcases at SXSW, CMJ, T in the Park, BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend and London Calling and picking up press from Brooklyn Vegan, Consequence of Sound, Fred Perry, The Guardian, KEXP and many more. The band take influence from Scottish working class culture, the aftermath of the Thatcher reign and the disappointment of a failed independence referendum and the personal loves and losses entangled within.

Band Members