Alternative music has always been, let’s face it, a fairly white-collar sort of affair, for college kids and the children of professionals & paper-pushers. It takes punk rock and actual rock ‘n’ roll to veer into the blue-collar middle class. Wormburner bring some working class & even lower class life into their rocking alt-rock on Pleasant Living In Planned Communities.
As its title indicates, Pleasant Living takes the fifties work-family ideal and looks at the darker side of things. That’s maybe best done in single “Today Might Be Our Day” (QRO review), which depicts the outlook of a rent boy sleeping on the street, but “Made-for-TV-Movie” and “Parliaments On Sundays” also get into it (the later refers not to Westminster or George Clinton, but the cigarette brand). The record even opens with a song about a World War II aircraft gunner, “Hopscotch Gunner”.
Pleasant Living In Planned Communities has a rock ‘n’ roll feel that is decidedly out of step with the twenty-first century electronic rhythms, all keyboards and vocoders, but brings back what you loved about old time rock – and the shadier aspects of post-war America.