If there is any cardinal sin in punk rock (or rock & roll in general), it's wasting time and boring the audience. Will Ivy, the main brain behind Flat Worms, clearly understands that, and the band have followed up their 31-minute debut album with 2019's Into the Iris, an EP that clocks in at 16 minutes and sounds leaner, meaner, and more concise all around. After an enthusiastic burst of opening feedback, Flat Worms kick off this set with the buzzy rant of "Surreal New Year," and if the tempo of the music varies a bit in the five songs that follow, the intensity does not -- this is superior-quality garage-centric noisemaking from folks who know how it's done. Ivy is capable of bringing a touch of arty skronk to his elemental guitar slashing, and he's clever enough not to let the relatively strong chops that occasionally grace his wailing weigh down the music. Meanwhile, bassist Tim Hellman gives these songs a low-end throb that generates a suitable level of menace, and drummer Justin Sullivan's bashing is straightforward and to the point while revealing both flair and tensile strength. On "Plastic at Home" and "Shouting at the Wall," Flat Worms crank hard and still maintain something like a melody along the way, and "At the Citadel" may run in third gear rather than fourth, but the deep-focus punch of the performance more than compensates. Ty Segall was at the controls for these sessions, and he documents this band's passion and unpretentious intelligence with clarity and a lack of clutter. Into the Iris gets its job done right, on time, and under budget, and it's hard not to wonder if Flat Worms have an even better eight-minute masterpiece up their sleeves in the future.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming