Max Clarke, alias Cut Worms, is a musician who needs to look back to move forwards. Not that the Brooklyn based singer songwriter is any sort of revivalist. He takes ingredients from the fringes of early sixties pop, country and doo-wop before stirring them up into intriguing mixes of contemporary low-fi tunefulness. Now, following his 2017 EP Alien Sunset and his debut album, 2018’s Hollow Ground, comes another taste of where his agile imagination can take us – a new track and video, Castle in the Clouds.
Opening with a characteristic country strum and Clarke’s Zimmerman croon, ‘Castle in the Clouds’ soon cranks up with his swooning lap steel and a gentle bass stomp. Recorded at the Sam Phillips Studio in Memphis you can feel those C&W vibes flickering through the song in true campfire spirit but as you come to expect from Cut Worms there are twists and turns. The swirling doo-wop vocal backing, the pumping chorus build and a sashaying mirror-ball finale reveal Cut Worms attention to the quirkiest of details.
That care and devotion is on show throughout ‘Castle in the Clouds’ accompanying video, homemade by Clarke from quick-fire animation clips and mid-20th century stock footage. It reveals his skills as an illustrator (he also designs his sleeves) and hints at how his graphic sensibilities hold his swirl of ideas together . So Cut Worms is an artist with enviable talents, a kaleidoscope of influences and a cool sense of playfulness which, as ‘Castle in the Clouds’ shows, are now genuinely coming together.