Silkworm
Firewater


5.0
classic

Review

by BMDrummer USER (56 Reviews)
December 27th, 2022 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: To be drunk.

I don't drink much anymore. Being 23 years old, I consider myself on the lucky side of that coin these days, having quite literally lost a couple of friends and acquaintances either fully or loosely to the firewater. I've had my share of lost memories, hangovers that could kill a horse, and a litany of different drunken escapades I'd happily forget even if I could remember them. Drinking is one of the less honorable vices one could indulge in, with a far heavier stigma than similarly intoxicating substances may carry, but perhaps this is simply due to our wide knowledge of its long-term effects. On top of this, alcohol is a dulling vice, a depressant, which blends events together in a way that makes it seem undesirable whenever I try to describe what being "drunk" feels like. However, the allure is there, especially in the midst of a life you'd rather forget about for a couple of hours. Sometimes, it is a good thing to simply indulge in our Dionysian side; to be drunk. Silkworm's Firewater is the essence of this contradiction.

Silkworm are a band not many folks know about. However, I don't imagine very many would like them even if they were aware of their existence. They're a classic story of a lovable band with intense appeal to their devoted fans, but almost none to those outside this cult-like devotion. Again, in a rather contradictory way, they are both familiar-sounding and completely alien in equal measure. Their songs are simple and complex, funny and sad, sloppy and virtuosic, all at once. Andy is an amazing guitar player, for instance, but he is more than willing to make skronky-noise right in the middle of a shredding solo that is equal parts Hendrix and Ornette (see track 4, "Slow Hands). It's this contradictory quality that may represent a major turnoff to those first hearing their music, but if you're anything like me, contradictions of this magnitude are often what I look for in my music.

It is this contradictory nature that really separates Silkworm from their contemporaries. Silkworm lacks the expansive nature of a Pavement, the southern hospitality of a Songs: Ohia, the contempt for the audience of a Shellac, etc. It may sound like I've done nothing but highlight this band's faults, but I assure you, none of these are faults. What Silkworm are really left with is a tremendous sense of personality that I haven't really heard from many of their contemporaries. This is really a band who is nobody but the members themselves; there is no higher purpose to Silkworm. This is what makes such a snarky song like "Nerves," so compelling. It's a giant wallop of noise right in your face, with Andy proclaiming "No more simple tunes, no more easy poon!" I can't think of many bands willing to be so upfront in their analysis of human relationships and band politics as that, but again, they are doing this for no one but themselves. It is a double album, after all.

In many ways, you have to buy the myth of the Worm to get anything out of this album. I found this record at a particularly low-point of my life, and I'll never forget when Andy said in "Tarnished Angel," to "Never use a cruelty when a joke will do in its place." I couldn't go to bars at the time (2020), but this was the kind of barfly wisdom I needed. If you're willing to buy into the mythology of the wise barfly, this album is a treasure chest of one-liners, insane soloing, tar-beating drumming, and brutal honesty in instrumentation and lyrics alike. In this way, listening to Firewater provides with the same relief of calling a friend who lives in another state over a couple of beers. For about an hour, all that matters is this record. In a bar, for an hour or two, all that matters is the company you're in.

I know I haven't talked much of the music here, but honestly talking about Silkworm's music has always been a difficult task for me. It really is one of those things where, if you know, you fucking know. Generally, the slow songs are their greatest achievements, with these being "Slow Hands," "Tarnished Angel," "Ticket Tulane," and "Don't Make Plans This Friday." I'm hesitant to even call this a "hidden gem," since the appeal is so limited for reasons that are hard to define, but you'll pick up on pretty quickly. However, as a member of the cult of the Worm, I do suggest you grab a beer (or two) and pay this album a visit. It would love to have you, and don't be put off by its snarky nature, it's just a tad moody from today's hangover and last month's breakup.

"Goddamn the circumstance that brought me here,
And fare you well my friends!"




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user ratings (33)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
BMDrummer
December 27th 2022


15154 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

was a little shocked this didn't have a review, this album is hard to talk about for me due to how close it is to my heart, but here ya go



all hail the worm

GhandhiLion
December 27th 2022


17650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Big pos :]

Mort.
December 27th 2022


25839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great album and much better than the review i was writing for it



posd hard

Mort.
December 27th 2022


25839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

my favs are



nerves

drunk

wet firecracker

cannibal cannibal

quicksand

swings

severance pay

drag the river

killing my ass





hmm maybe this is actually a 4.5

Mort.
December 27th 2022


25839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'Generally, the slow songs are their greatest achievements,'



also i really disagree with this but hey ho, courses for horses

BMDrummer
December 27th 2022


15154 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@mort saw you mention writing a rev and realized i should give it a try myself, also i just prefer the long drawn-out stuff from all their albums



preferences are fun

Josh D.
December 27th 2022


17845 Comments


As someone that gave up alcohol 2.5 years ago, sounds like I should give this a go.

BMDrummer
December 27th 2022


15154 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

it might bring back some memories, honestly surprised i didn’t drink when writing this



took up transcendental meditation recently and have had no compulsion to give into any of my vices like at all

Mort.
December 27th 2022


25839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ive been sober about 8 months and it feels nice. stopped smoking weed (which was my main issue) and decided to stop drinking at the same time because i was worried id just pivot to another vice





i find listening to stuff like this pretty cathartic tbh

ffs
December 28th 2022


6272 Comments


cheers

brainmelter
Contributing Reviewer
December 28th 2022


8376 Comments


looks v cool will check

artificialbox
December 30th 2022


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

FRIDAY NIGHT IS SACREDDDDD

ITS NOT TIME TO BE WASTEDDDD

AND WITH DOOM ON CALL YA KNOWWW

FRIDAY THEY CAAAAAANT USEEE ITTTTT

Mort.
December 31st 2022


25839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'friday night is sacred



its not time to be wasted'





god i love the lyrics from that track







Mort.
January 3rd 2024


25839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cannibal cannibal is my fav from this i think

Mort.
January 10th 2024


25839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCENxF4TE9s



theres a video for wet firecracker!



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