39779-2 A Worm's Life
Produced by Brad Roberts, Mitch Dorge, Dan Roberts
Released on October 1, 1996
US CHART POSITION #78
Find it at GEMM
39779-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

T he Dummies waited three years to release a followup to God, by which time “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” was a distant, delicious mmmemory. It hardly boded well for the future that Brad Roberts, whose songs had always seemed oddly autobiographical, writes not one but two songs about writer’s block (“An Old Scab,” “Swatting Flies”). Critics reacted by calling the album both too radical a departure from their past (“noisy” is commonly cited) and not enough of a departure. Now, before I launch into a defense of A Worm’s Life, know that the copy I listened to was cracked, rendering the first four songs unlistenable. (A beacon of quality, this site.) So the best you’ll get out of me today is a review of the last two-thirds of A Worm’s Life. My general impression is favorable; “I’m Outlived By That Thing?” and “My Own Sunrise” follow in the footsteps of their last. If the rest of the songs are more memorable for Brad’s basso profundo and everyday absurdities, the same could be said about the bulk of their work so far. The real disappointment of A Worm’s Life, I suspect, came in the realization that the Dummies could not be counted on to save the world, but merely to carve out a small portion of it for themselves every few years. With the forced reduction in expectations, a backlash was inevitable. As for the criticism about it being a noisy album, no, not really. Steve Berlin and Jerry Harrison are different producers who shaped the band’s sound into their favored image. Produced by Brad, brother Dan and Mitch Dorge, A Worm’s Life is perhaps truer to their own image of themselves, which resembles a kind of Canadian XTC (e.g., “My Enemies”). Again, that’s based just on the two-thirds I’ve heard, which you might logically extrapolate over an entire album or just as logically dismiss as incomplete evidence. It didn’t suck as much as I’d read, though, which is all I really wanted to say.

TRACK LISTING

  1. OVERACHIEVERS
  2. HE LIKED TO FEEL IT
  3. A WORM'S LIFE
  4. OUR DRIVER GESTURES
  5. MY ENEMIES
  6. THERE ARE MANY DANGERS
  7. I'M OUTLIVED BY THAT THING?
  8. ALL OF THIS UGLY
  9. AN OLD SCAB
  10. MY OWN SUNRISE
  11. I'M A DOG
  12. SWATTING FLIES

    All songs written by Brad Roberts

CREDITS

BENJAMIN DARVILL -- harmonica, melodica, theramin
MITCH DORGE -- drums, percussion, digital stuff
ELLEN REID -- back-up vocals, keyboards
BRAD ROBERTS -- lead vocals, guitars
DAN ROBERTS -- bass
Simon Franglen -- string and horn arrangement (10)
Murray Pulver -- electric guitar solos, additional guitars
Terry Manning -- engineer
Ed Thacker -- mixing
Kevin Mutch/Liquid Image -- album design and art diection
Mike Beedell, Frank Ockenfels, Diyah Pera -- photography

return to CRASH TEST DUMMIES discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
CAN/US/UK/GER October 1, 1996 Arista CD/CS 39779-2/4  
UK 1996 BMG CDPRO CDT-001  
JPN 1996 Arista CD BVCA-712  

 

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