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Never mind Manchester, it’s Stereolab that has much to answer for, starting with the Heartworms’ Space Escapade. The album is a side project of Archie Moore (of Velocity Girl) and Trish Roy, who (like Chip Porter, credited on five of the 11 tracks) works in Washington City Paper‘s exceedingly musical Classifieds department. A little too deliberately paced for an escapade, the album’s second side is dominated by the title song, a meander across the astral plane that never quite captures the Velveteen urgency of the ‘lab’s best drones.
Although it’s by far the longest, that’s only one of the tracks. Side one is pithier and punchier, thanks in part to the songs borrowed from Blondie (“Sunday Girl”), the Beach Boys (“Girl Don’t Tell Me”), and Radiohead (“Creep”). Effectively (if a bit predictably) the ‘worms smear the first two of those songs with guitar fuzz, and then take the Radiohead rocker nice and easy, with the guitar noise (first shivering, then shrieking) in the background. The originals aren’t bad either: Both “Blues for a Heartworm” (presented in electric and acoustic versions) and “I Won’t Lose My Patience” open with arresting riffs, although the latter’s is almost the one from the Go-Betweens’ “Streets of Your Town.” This side ends spacily too, with the pulsating “Two Suns.”
Inevitably, there’s a song about slumber, “Sleep Is Kind,” which defines a new, drowsier version of the space-cowboy sound. The big sleep, though, is “Space Escapade,” music for the centuries-long nap required to travel to other planets. The album is on Darla, 625 Scott 303, San Francisco, CA 94117.