Who It Is: Washer – Here Comes Washer; Exploding In Sound Records (2016)
What It Sounds Like: Pavement, Cold Foamers, old Modest Mouse, Pile, Dinosaur Jr.
Since forming in 2013, Brooklyn-based duo Washer have cemented a firm place in the DIY scene with their poignant combination of infectious slacker rock and upbeat garage punk. On their debut LP, Here Comes Washer, the band displays their knack for deceptively intricate and hook-laden songwriting that’s sure to be stuck in the listener’s head for days on end. The record spans 14 introspective and sporadic tracks that leave the listener reminiscing back to a time when bands like Pavement, Built to Spill, and Modest Mouse were in their prime.
Lyrically, Here Comes Washer is as restless as it is positive, at times detailing conflicting reflections on self-assurance and existentialism that are sure to resonate with anyone grasping the beginning stages of adulthood. Guitarist/bassist/vocalist Mike Quigley’s sincere and arching vocal style accompanies Washer’s minimalistic brand of indie/punk almost too well, most notably on the austere “Got Drunk And Ate The Sun.” Arguably most impressive, however, is how drummer Kieran McShane’s parts seem to accompany Quigley’s instrumentation perfectly. The duo proves themselves to be an extremely cohesive unit throughout, with tracks shifting from ethereal fuzz to vibrant melodies in the blink of an eye.
“Eyelids,” the first track on Here Comes Washer, lures the listener in with an interesting bass riff reminiscent of early Pixies. Featuring only bass and drums, this seemingly simple formula yields incredibly complex results. Quigley’s apathetic vocals pierce through the thick midrange of the bass, ultimately commanding attention throughout the track. As “Eyelids” deconstructs itself, “Hallmark” fills the air with a short and sweet sonnet harkening back to childhood memories. The record spans multiple different facets, which is showcased on “Safe Place,” the fourth track on the LP. Barely a minute in length, “Safe Place” offers clever commentary on the current state of shows, with Quigley singing, “Not everyone feels comfortable taking a punch in the face / You can’t express yourself without being violent / You can be a better person by not keeping silent.” As soon as the vocals cease, the song begins to build and crescendo, coming to an abrupt end with a dissonant guitar riff. “Figure Me Out,” another notable track and the last song on the LP, showcases just how tight and concise the duo can play with each other. Washer makes perfect use of the acclaimed “loud-quiet” pattern seen in many alternative bands in the 90s, but does so in a way that is entirely their own. The band offers a warm and inviting atmosphere while tackling heavy topics like death and the existential anxiety that come with it. Perhaps the most culminating point of Here Comes Washer comes towards the end, when Quigley yells, “I don’t wanna die / not for fear of the unknown / I don’t wanna die / not for sins I won’t atone,” as if coming to terms with their own personal doubts and fears. The song ends the same way it starts, as if to complete the cycle and allow the track to come around full-circle.
With a sound much akin to modern contemporaries like Stove and Cold Foamers, Washer sets out to swoon the masses with Here Comes Washer, which is officially released through Exploding In Sound Records today. With their delightfully catchy take on slacker rock, Washer has proven themselves to be at the top of the game right now. If you’re in the area, Washer will be playing a record release show for Here Comes Washer tonight in Brooklyn at Palisades with Stove, Lost Boy?, Yazan, and Dan Licata.
You Should Probably Listen To: “Figure Me Out,” “Safe Place,” “Human.”
Overall Rating: 7.9/10