Bucolic's Glow Worm: a review by Christian Ortmann

by Christian Ortmann

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Bucolic is the lo-fi dream-pop shoegaze project of Pitman, New Jersey-based musician and purveyor of transcendental euphoria Seth Carpenter. Subsequent releases from Bucolic have been highly anticipated within our circle here at 1851 ever since he mesmerized us in a neighborhood basement back in December.  Bucolic even came back in February and cemented his status as unanimous crowd favorite of the Saint Joseph’s underground once we became familiar with his previous EP Rope’s Wing. I called dibs and committed to writing a review of Glow Worm over a month ago before I had heard any of it. In reality, that was a very low-risk maneuver.

Glow Worm is still steeped in Seth’s signature sound. The slacker beats, simple but deceptively infectious melodies, and words I need a dictionary to understand being projected towards the heavens all make a triumphant return to this release. However, my favorite tracks from Glow Worm flourish in exploring new territory for Bucolic. Glow Worm and Dendroid are straight up danceable. Bucolic raises the tempo and produces grooves that the human body just cannot contain. Glow Worm chooses rapid picking over graceful strums and with it comes energetic urgency in the shortest song on the EP. Do I smell radio-friendly accessibility? Dendroid is a joyous closing anthem that will have you replaying Glow Worm from the top, time and time again. Check out the accompanying music video while you are at it. For a project so deeply rooted in nature, these two songs, in particular, are destined to find a home blaring out of car windows burning rubber down the highway.

The remainder of the EP is true to form, but do not get me wrong, Glow Worm is far from stale. Bucolic took some risks with this release and I think they all paid off. The outro to Face Collage is an extended guitar solo that had me thinking and feeling “lo-fi David Gilmour” for the duration. The intro felt—and I hate to describe a serious piece of art in this way—vapory. Do not get it confused, I do like it, and I think Bucolic dips his toes briefly in a foreign soundscape that teases the imagination as to where he could potentially take that in the future.

Blue Tree and For Samantha are, forgive me, the most bucolic of Bucolic’s songs on the Glow Worm EP. These two songs put me mentally in a summer blockbuster coming-of-age romance. Imagine a John Green book-to-film adaptation but not remotely as cliché. I can see it now, the protagonist and their love interest are lying parallel in a field, the bonfire recently petered out, and the profoundly daunting void of the ever-expanding observable universe swallows their field of view just as someone chooses to finally speak. But how does that translate into sound exactly? You have to listen and find out yourself. For me, Bucolic is just as much a feeling as it is a sound. In the right mindset it is truly something remarkable, and if not it is still just a fantastic batch of tracks. Go give it a listen and see, hear, and feel for yourself.

Listen to the full EP below"

Chris DeFlitch