ALBUM REVIEW: The Workers, ‘Totem’

Written by Album Reviews, Music

As synonymous with the New York every-man music scene as a protagonist in a Billy Joel Song, Dan Greenwald’s Workers have been a mainstay on the local scene for over a decade. A three-time ASCAPlus Popular Award, Greenwald has nothing to prove and no one to answer to; the Workers’ new EP, with a trio of tracks reminiscent of the Beatles, REM, Elliot Smith and a mishmash of other alt-rock favorites finds him and his band — along with master mixologist Will Hensley (Coldplay, Electric Ladyland Studios) — in top form and ready to rock.

Over Totem‘s trio of tracks, Greenwald explores a couple of heady themes. On the pop-infused “Death Race,” he tackles drugs and driving (one in the same, really), while “Boomerang”‘s lovely pedal steel backdrop provides a dreamlike frame for lyrics of independence and the fear of never achieving your full potential (“nothing slows the march of time / and I’ve yet to yield my prime”). But it’s lead single “Big Time” pairs heart-wrenching words to a Talking Heads-esque tune as Greenwald relates what was, undoubtedly, a tough time in love. And who can’t relate to that?

Overall, it’s amazing how the Workers craft something elaborate in instrumentation (the core band consists of seven players) yet still simple and raw that exemplifies its rock soul. Totem contains an honesty and a longing that plainly says, “Welcome to New York.” Take a listen.