Portland, Maine indie-punk/alt-rock trio theWorst are preparing to release their brilliant sophomore LP, Yes Regrets, on June 3rd, and today the group shared the album’s fifth single, “Hurt Forever,” featuring The Distillers’ Tony Bevilacqua. “Hurt Forever” is out now.
In the Spring of 2018, Brooke Binion—guitarist and vocalist of Portland, Maine’s raucous punk trio theWorst—started documenting her life in song, laying the groundwork for what would become the band’s high-energy and profoundly affecting sophomore album, Yes Regrets. Yes Regrets is a ten-track collection of blistering melodic punk songs presented in chronological order detailing the downward spiral of drug and alcohol addiction, the recovery process, and approaching the world with newfound sobriety. Binion’s transparent lyricism and coarse vocals shine atop layers of distorted guitars, fuzz-laden bass and pummeling drums, creating a record equally primed for circle pits and contemplative night drives. “This album was written over a very critical couple of years for me, so I wanted to have the album flow chronologically,” says Binion. “The first couple tracks were written before I got sober, then the middle of the record was written while I was in the process of getting sober, and then the end is sort of where I’m at now.”
Formed in 2016, theWorst gained a quick reputation in the Northeast for their energetic live shows and raw sound that combines the anthemic qualities of 90s alt-rock with driving indie-punk and shades of hardcore, with Alternative Press hailing the group as “[The] glorious love child of Joan Jett & Kurt Cobain.” With Yes Regrets, theWorst have raised the stakes without abandoning the sound that they explored on their 2017 debut LP, Jane Doe Embryo, a testament to the group’s shared musical vision and Binion’s growing confidence as a songwriter. “Jane Doe Embryo was made up of the first songs I’d ever really written, and I tried to make it more poetic and universal,” says Binion. “This new record is so much more personal. I wanted it to be more direct, less metaphorical, to really capture those feelings.”
To record Yes Regrets the trio—Binion, alongside bassist Will Bradford (SeepeopleS) and drummer Craig Sala (Paranoid Social Club, Kurt Baker, Planeside)—teamed up with longtime producer Will Holland (Pixies, Fall Out Boy, The Antlers) at Chillhouse Studios in Boston, MA, and brought in a number of friends and collaborators including Dana Colley (Morphine, Vapors of Morphine), Tony Bevilacqua (The Distillers), Nikki Glaspie (Beyoncé, Nth Power, Maceo Parker), and Nate Edgar (Nth Power, John Brown’s Body).
Yes Regrets kicks off with the heavily distorted dissonance of “Blacksheepish,” an energetic and emotional tribute to a friend lost to suicide, before the sludgy “Serves You Rotten” turns the focus inward, reflecting on and second-guessing the choices that can lead to hardship before ultimately embracing them and pushing forward. Elsewhere on the album, Binion details her struggles with bipolar disorder, chronicling the actions and fallout from manic periods on tracks like “Hurt Forever” and “Monomania.” “When you’re manic, it’s like your brain is making decisions that you don’t agree with but you’re doing them anyway,” says Binion. “There’s a lot of impulsivity and that feeling of knowing something is a terrible idea but suddenly you’re doing it.”
On “This House Didn’t Build Itself” theWorst play with structure and genre, with breakneck hardcore punk verses giving way to a downtempo, sparse chorus containing some of Binion’s most beautiful vocal harmonies. Meanwhile, the album’s title track, “Yes Regrets,” combines elements of fuzzy desert-rock with early-2000s New Jersey emo before building to a noisy, anthemic climax. “It’s exhausting living this way where you’re constantly punishing yourself,” says Binion. “I’ve been through a lot, and most of it was self-inflicted, but this record is just about that pain you can cause yourself and those regrets that wear you down.”
Yes Regrets doesn’t shy away from exploring the realities of addiction, mental illness, and, appropriately, regret, but at its core, the album skirts the tendency to wallow in self-pity and isolation, instead offering a sense of community and acceptance to those who find themselves in a similar situation. “There’s some stuff I wish I could re-do, but I can’t and that’s okay,” says Binion. “I just hope people realize that even if you don’t have that hardcore ‘no regrets’ attitude, that’s alright. You might feel bad about some things that happen, but you can always still move forward from it.”