Wriggling, the debut album from Philly's Abi Reimold, has guts. Guts that spill out of Reimold's throat through the coexisting purity and brutality of her voice and the fuck this and fuck me of what she wants to say. At some points, Wriggling is ghostly, as though Reimold is channelling spirits, and at other times there are desperately honest shouts and frantic riffs. A fly buzzes from the end of "Bad Seed" into the beginning of "Dust."
Part of what makes Wriggling so captivating is Reimold's voice itself—it isn't perfect, it's stirring, it has the same capacity for lullabies as it does for savagery. "Clouded" is the prime example of how Reimold twists and distorts herself, bends the rules of what a song should sound like—what a girl should sound like, even. The song begins with what sounds like text message alerts, which lead us to her alternating between growling and crooning. It's quiet, then loud, then quiet, then ferocious, but so cohesive that you know exactly what it is Reimold wants to achieve. She's ripping something out of herself, tearing it apart, staring right at it, and then loving it fully. Wriggling is both loud and weird and beautifully soothing. It's full of the yucky parts of life; both a celebration of being human and cry of frustration with the vulnerability that comes with it (that there’s no scheme, there is no plan, we grow where our seeds happen to land).
"I asked several talented Philadelphians to join me in bringing some of the arrangements to life, including Nick Morrison and Ian Amidon of Philly band Mumblr, and Kevin Paschall on drums," Reimold told The FADER in an email. "I wrote the record during an emotionally turbulent winter in 2014 and felt that both the dynamics and wide range of instrumentation was an attempt to express the ups and downs of that time. The songs were written as I explored different ways to play guitar and tune. The cover is a can of worms—through writing these songs I feel like I was able to close that can and move on, hopefully to other cans with cooler stuff in them." There's something deeply relatable in the sentiment of wanting to embrace a part of yourself, but also wanting to move forward from a period of your life that was tough (do you like my mask? I made it myself/ gotta complete this task, gotta become someone else). It's honestly breathtaking to experience that turbulence through Reimold's music. You can feel her pain and her strength and her tenderness right down to your bones.
Wriggling is out January 26 via Sad Cactus Records. Stream the whole thing below, and pre-order the record here.
Abi Reimold will be performing at Philly's Johnny Brenda's April 28. Get tickets here.