Review

Return to Worm Mountain release Acoustic Tracks 2020: an eclectic collection of American folk-inspired acoustics

Meet Return to Worm Mountain: an indie-psyche outfit from Durban who fall within the many genres of heavy sludge, gentle acid-folk and blistering electronics. Sometimes all at once. And fuelled by a relentless passion for musical exploration. 

Their third and latest album, Acoustic Tracks 2020, is on that gentler side of things, starting out as a collection of American folk-inspired blues and banjo pieces which were slowly built up over time. The result is a colourful sound, filled with grassy interpretations of acoustic folk. 

The group is made up of Cameron Lofstrand (of Black Math, Taekwondo Sleepover, Hadeda, and other psychedelic South African bands) and Duncan Park, also enlisting William Randles (aka Doctor Haphazard’s Magic Factory) on “Bad Witch” and “He’s A Mighty Good Leader”. And while these are two of the more adventurous tracks on the album, their sing-song-like vocals don’t sit comfortably within their chosen genre.

Instead, Return to Worm Mountain shine best on their instrumentals. “Dance of Regret” recalls a kind of Sufjan Stevens sensitivity that’s just plain beautiful, while tracks like “Acceptance” and “Lighter Burden” offer a perky, country guitar spirited by falling minors and pretty discords – it’s in the subtleties that this whimsical album finds itself standing firmly on two feet, marching onwards.