In an effort to capture the live feel in studio, jam band moe. have taken live backing tracks, and used those as a starting point for all new compositions and recordings. And there certainly is an inspired, intimate presence running throughout this hour-long set of ’70s folksy jam rock, with moe. proving that their real strengths lie in tightly interlocked musicianship, and restrained — but definitely not constrained — playing.
It’s impossible not to bring up American Beauty-era Grateful Dead — check out “Shoot First” for a particularly brilliant example — although moe. glance as much towards Thin Lizzy as towards the Dead. “Okayalright” might suffer from a particularly dumb title, but gives notable evidence of moe.’s ability to combine the folksy jam with clever classic rock work-outs.
And while there are the occasional pointless tracks, like the longish “Kids” and the not-so-funky “Crab Eyes,” Wormwood more often than not succeeds, not least due to moe.’s instrumental playfulness and exploring approach. “Bullet” and “Kyle’s Song” are the album’s longest tracks, and those truest to moe.’s jam band background. As such it’s pleasing to note that they are also the finest moments on here. moe. are at their best when they dare to branch out, regardless of commercial viability or easy solutions. And, luckily, Wormwood shows them doing just that.