Woolworm will no doubt be bummed when I call them emo. That’s too bad. Because Believe in Ourselves, despite its hokey edgeman title and vaguely black metal band logo, is some serious top-shelf emo — and I’m not talking Orchid ripoffs here. I’m talking about the golden shit — Believe could’ve lived somewhere between Revelation releases 37 and 48, swimming in the same clean-cut, tear-drenched, heading-to-grad-school-at-an-Ivy-League pools as Sense Field, late-game Elliott and Fastbreak (when they stopped being squares and became stone-cold lady-killers). Indeed, in 1998-era Vancouver, Woolworm would’ve been as hip as Deranged Records’ brand of coked-up, black-jean-jacket hardcore is in 2012.
It’s another way of saying that Believe is an excellent LP. Ignore the wilfully 2012 touches — sure, there are bits of faux shoegaze (“Ginga Dreamin’”), a half-track indebted to Chris Colohan (“Royalty,” whose last minute would feel at home on Cursed’s One) and forays into icy post-punk (“How Did I Know”). Nice touches, to be certain, but it’s not where Woolworm succeeds. Instead, Believe’s best moments are road-trip-ready guilty pleasures: “Alamir Feeling” uses a forgotten classic emo technique, riding a treble-heavy three-note lead while the rhythm guitar goes ballistic; “Someone Has Left You” and the LP’s title track indulge in the lost art of Texas is the Reason worship; and “Lost Colour” devolves into ghostly post-hardcore, proving that someone (aside from me) is still listening to Failure’s Fantastic Planet.
So yeah, this is definitely emo. (And not the crusty, green-hoodie emo performed by bands who borrow their names from Indian restaurants. This is some reformed-jock, J.Crew-catalogue shit.) After the 19th consecutive spin of this record, I’m ready to bust my battered Sauconys, 00-gauge plugs and Adidas track jacket out of retirement. Fuck the haters.