A dark, gritty and eloquent opening statement: Heartworms share their debut EP.

A cult band in the making? ‘A Comforting Notion’ establishes their distinct brand.

Photo: Gilbert Trejo | Words: Otis Hayes

Exhilaratingly tense from beginning to end, Heartworms’ debut EP ‘A Comforting Notion’, is a moody delight. Released on Speedy Wunderground, respected as one of the UK’s defining tastemaker labels, the four-track effort is a triumphantly searing first impression that shows why Heartworms could be a cult band in the making.

From the first note of ‘Consistent Dedication’, the atmosphere is intense and eerie. A looping drum machine, a janky guitar riff and Jojo Orme’s whispered vocals build an intensity, before culminating in a fierce climax of abrasive sound and haunted poetry. This tone bleeds into ‘Retributions Of An Awful Life’, on which Orme transitions between spoken word and singing over a gothic rock backdrop – bringing to mind classic cuts from Joy Division, Nine Inch Nails and Public Image Ltd.

Heartworms are masterful at building suspense, and in turn creating an environment that forces the listener to engage, even as they get lost within its layers of introspection. Take the EP’s title track, ‘A Comforting Notion’, which sways elegantly into a murky ether, guided by the kind of knife-edged guitar line that has become a trademark of producer Dan Carey’s output at Speedy.

Closing the EP, ’24 Hours’ ties the preceding tracks together into one steady build, progressing towards a weighty outro that shudders and shifts to a halt. This indelible close concludes an insistently individual opening statement from one of the most promising new artists emerging in the capital.