Album Review: Don’t Worry – Who Cares Anyway?

Despite what the Daily Telegraph would have you believe, growing up in the 21st century is pretty fucking complicated and confusing. We’re obligated to reckon with not only the mistakes and consequences of those who came before us but the relentless dissemination of information from absolutely everywhere. I guess what I’m saying is, sometimes it all gets a bit much. Don’t Worry are dealing with this in a way that’s more constructive than spending your wages on pints and shit coke every weekend; form an emo band, continuously tour with your mates, and write about your own experiences in this slimy milieu of baffling bullshit with a tidy mixture of self-deprecating humour and gut-wrenching honesty.

Don't Worry - Who Cares Anyway? artwork

Bristol-based Specialist Subject Records have recently made a name illuminating young bands that skirt the edges of emo, but focus on the turmoil of their world at large rather than their own inner struggles. They’re a snug fit for Don’t Worry, whose frontman Ronan Kehoe has a fantastic knack for lyrical normal-bloke-isms, and finds the balance between burying everything in nonsensical metaphor and useless singalong platitudes (looking at you, Beach Slang).

Kehoe and fellow songwriter/guitarist Sam Watson’s arrangements themselves are full of delightful twists and turns, recalling something like a nonchalant latter-day Dismemberment Plan for kids who grew up listening to Title Fight. Just when you feel a song becoming predictable, there’s a switch up in rhythm, a time signature shift, or just a genuinely charming lyric – “I don’t want to drive away and leave you on your own, I can’t drive anyway, I’ll probably have to bump the train” is a particular highlight, leaving a wry smirk every time. There’s a genuine energy and electricity in their performances; the rhythm section of bassist Alex Reed and drummer Jack Byrne are more lithe and dynamic than most, wrung out by Bob Cooper’s typically thick yet crisp production.

In a genre that is often far too close to riffing itself into redundancy, Don’t Worry are refreshing and promising, and prove that the affective endgame of the genre comes from putting decent songwriting and lyrical chops first. It’s by no means the most original thing anyone will hear this year, but there’s enough here to keep everyone happy (including pretentious assholes like myself). Who Cares Anyway? will undoubtedly, through the platform of Specialist Subject, get them the fans their hard work deserves.