Lauren Denitzio has always been the type of songwriter to say exactly what’s on their mind. Over the course of the past decade with their band Worriers, they’ve addressed gender liberation, capitalist violence, and searing heartbreak, all over the band’s signature style of triumphant chords and subtle pop sensibilities. Worriers was always a band that shined with the feelings of ecstatic potential; offering a sense of liberation amidst the chaos of the world.
And yet, on their newest album Warm Blanket, they’ve never sounded more free.
The band’s fourth full length record has the feel of an exciting debut and there’s a reason: it marks the first time that Denitzio accepted that the group they had been trying to treat as a band is actually a solo project. After a pace of touring and recording that would be breakneck for most, but de rigueur in the underground scene which forged them, Denitzio found themselves in the summer of 2022 with a chance to finally catch their breath. “I realized I could write whatever I wanted.”
The DIY ethic that Denitzio developed on a thousand punk tours, playing squats, house parties and rowdy warehouses is never far from their mode of operation. And so—with no proper training in audio recording—they recorded and mixed the entirety of Warm Blanket at home. Atom Willard (Against Me!, Social Distortion) contributed drums remotely, adding an orchestral element of weight and emphasis to the proceedings.
The result is a collection of songs that reflects Denitizio “unlearning the expectations of being in a band” and writing music “that’s more in line with my actual influences.” Written during a particularly fertile creative period—Denitzio had already completed an entirely separate new album to be released later—Warm Blanket marked a chance to write the kind of songs they had always appreciated but were unsure of how to place in the Worriers catalog.
The album reveals a songwriter tossing off former constrictions, giving themselves the space and time to properly reflect on all they’ve learned. There’s a somber yet tender unpacking of the past; songs littered with mix tapes, motorola phones, Brooklyn bars in their heyday, house shows, broken bikes and doomed love.
On “Prepared to Forget”, Denitzio delivers an aching paean to the time when they had friends who still thought they could get away with anything; even the most self-destructive things.
And lest you think their signature critical edge has dulled, “Never Kicks In”—which functions as a sonic tribute to the Magnetic Fields—offers a biting send-up of Denitzio’s non-committal musical peers who seem to perpetually coast by on doing the bare minimum for their art.
There’s also a new tenderness at work in their writing, perhaps best seen on “Pollen in the Air”, which sees them literally sprawling out all over the landscape declaring: “we could be anywhere,” marking the terms of their new perspective.
The album finds Denitzio as a vigilante seeking revenge, a lover ready to be hurt and a weary traveler, meditating on heartache and loss, all while wanting to continue the beautiful, exhausting struggle.
In short, they are anyone they want to be.
Few bands have the luxury of writing a first album a decade into their discography. But for Worriers, Warm Blanket is exactly that: a staggering debut from a songwriter who is just getting started.
Worriers - Warm BlanketApril 7, 2023
Ernest Jenning Record Co.