It’s only a matter of time before Worriers make it big. Just look at the facts. Laura Jane Grace of punk icons Against Me! has produced their first full-length album, Imaginary Life, and the Worriers’ lyrics tap into the same concerns about life, gender and politics that helped bring such attention to Grace. More importantly, their brand of melodic punk is compulsively, wonderfully addictive. From the subverted 50’s sound of ‘Life During Peacetime’ to the biting ‘Yes All Cops’, each song has an anthemic quality that makes it instantly memorable.
Single ‘They/Them/Theirs’ looks at the idea of gender-neutral pronouns, something that singer, guitarist and writer Lauren Denitzio thinks should be more widely used in society. These questions of identity and gender crop up throughout her writing. While it seems that punk music offers a welcoming space for female and trans artists, Denitzio admitted in a recent radio interview that this is not always the case: “even if you identify as feminist, or you like certain bands or have certain political beliefs, that doesn’t mean that you can’t screw up sometimes and say things that are disrespectful or making people feel uncomfortable”. Worriers make music that acknowledges that we are flawed individuals trying our best, but we all fuck up sometimes. As Denitzio writes in ‘Never Were’:
I keep reminding myself I make mistakes all the time. / Holding to higher standards, unreachable lines. / Here’s to promises we try to keep. It’s a universal statement but personal too. Denitzio’s strength is that listeners can’t help but identify, even when she’s presenting uncomfortable truths. Perhaps this is what punk is in its truest form: a call for personal integrity, honesty, and a challenge to conformity. If so, Worriers are about as punk as it gets.
In the same way that Laura Jane Grace has become the public face of Against Me!, the articulate Denitzio is likely to become the spokesperson for Worriers. However, her bandmates all have substantial punk pedigree. Drummer Mikey Erg has been a feature of the New York punk scene for over a decade, and guitarist Rachel Rubino was formerly with acclaimed emo outfit Bridge and Tunnel. The benefits of these years of graft come through on Imaginary Life, showcasing a band playing in absolute harmony, seemingly at ease with their music and each other. The new album is full of their hummable tunes and memorable choruses but with an edge given by Denitzio’s lyrics, making music great for pogoing, solitary reflection, and debate with friends. It’s a rare gift to find a band that works in all three environments.
Worriers are due to set out on an American tour over August, but there are no UK dates currently on the cards. Keep watching though: this is one of those bands you’ll want to say that you saw first.
Find out more about Worriers:
To hear Denitzio talk more about gender identity and punk, listen to her podcast with Laura Jane Grace:
Cover photo by Nicole Kibert