Boomkat Product Review:
The Wormholes recorded this original, unreleased version of their sophomore album in 1996, only to find it ignored by the label. Now it's available for the first time in all its grubby glory, remastered by the original studio engineer Marc Carolan.
At the beginning of their career, The Wormholes were signed to metal label Roadrunner, who funded a studio session for their follow-up to 1994's 'Chicks Dig Scars' but promptly lost interest. The demos were unexpectedly experimental, noisier and far weirder than their earlier material, influenced by Can, Faust and improvised rock forms. They eventually moved on, scrapping the 'Parijuana' demos and reworking them into the "proper" album that finally emerged in 1999, but this version is the grubby, raw original take, the sound of a band starting to develop its own sound.
"This one is a previously unreleased album recorded in a concise burst of seven nights in Dublin’s Sun Studios in the spring of 1996. It was originally envisaged as being The Wormholes’ second album, the follow up to their 1994 debut Chicks Dig Scars. Unfortunately the end result of the sessions - Parijuana - would not only be ignored by their label of the time (Roadrunner Records) - but would also just as quickly be dismissed by the band themselves.
Eamonn Crudden, the manager of the band, had manged to extract some money from Roadrunner to record demos of new tracks as soon as the release cycle for their debut was over. The budget was so tight that it covered studio time but was not even enough to buy the master tapes. With things going south with the label – a classic 90’s tale of the A&R man who championed their cause heading off elsewhere the minute they signed - the intention was to go in and aim to record an album rather than demos - with the intention of releasing it on another independent label to keep the momentum around the band going.
However by this stage the Wormholes were totally wrapped up in listening to Can, Faust and generally exploring music based on casual recording, improvisations and extemporization. For them the album was too ‘rock’ and – having been dropped by Roadrunner - they no longer felt under any obligation to release it. To them it was time for a fresh start. Their next recordings would not be ‘for’ anyone but themselves. Today bassist Anto Carroll admits that “at times we were our own worst enemies” and with the benefit of hindsight both he and guitarist Graham Blackmore wish they had gone ahead and released this album at the time. However, back then, they thought they could do better and they did go on to make inventive and unique sounding versions of some of these songs with Stan Erraught producing just a short time later. These recordings were eventually released by Dead Elvis in 1999 - along with a couple of ‘adjusted’ tracks from the Sun Studios sessions - on Parijuana: 4 Years in Captivity.
It’s highly unlikely that listeners today will share the band’s view that the abum was too ‘clean’. This version of Parijuana is dirty, raw, messy with plenty of experimentation and extemporisation. The songwriting is as strong as that on their Chicks Dig Scars debut. The music is played with a new confidence and swagger, very much the sound of a band rooted in a wave of US ‘lo-fi’ finding their own sound. It’s the missing link between their conventional Pavement/Sebadoh influenced debut to the more drawn out, free roaming and extemporised second album proper Scorpio The Album."