Since Californian band, The Growlers, released their first album back in 2009, the band have successfully muddled together three genres to create an Avant-Gard genre: Beach Goth. Listen to The Growlers and you will understand what I mean.
There are not many bands who over the past ten years have created such a uniquely outstanding new sound but they have smashed it. I could bore you with examples of their beautifully written and thoughtful lyrics for pages, but I will have to settle for a snippet of each album leading up to their latest single.
If you are not familiar with the band, they started small back in 2009 with Are you in or out? The album on a whole is a really relaxed, album with nostalgic feels, mostly using ghostly vocals and guitar twangs that create mixed up swampy blues. Once again just give it a listen and you will know what I mean. The following album, Hot Tropics has similar sounds, with many great tracks but one that stood out in particular and has stayed with me over the years is ‘Sea Lion Goth Blues’. It keeps that original sound, but mixes it up a bit with a faster tempo.
It was around this point in The Growlers’ career when my best friend got me into them. We’ve always had a very different music taste but this was one band we came together about and loved. I remember sitting on her balcony during a warm spring listening to both of the next two albums, totally chilled out. She was a much bigger fan than me, traveling to numerous places to see them live.
It was the summer of 2014 when we discovered Gilded Pleasures – it’s hard to say but this could definitely be one of my all-time favourites. The lyrics throughout all the albums are outstanding matched with unique rhythms makes The Growlers’ sounds so enchanting to listen to. There are so many alluring songs with ingenious lyrics on this album, making it tricky to choose just one, but it would have to be Humdrum Blues,
“A couple thousand days full of every emotion. It’s enough to know a woman as much as a man can, but still don’t feel like it’s the proper devotion to ensure that we can both withstand all of the distractions, so hard to keep your head from out of the clouds. She’ll never have her satisfaction unless she’s sure that we’re both strapped down”.
The fourth album Hung at Heart, was a fitting follow up to Gilded Pleasures, with more melancholic country love tunes. The lyrics of One Million Lovers are full of enchanting rhymes backed to the soft rock blues makes it uplifting and wholly calming to listen to,
“Found a cure for loneliness, I’m forever immune stuck in my walk and in my head and I hum her tune, yep she got rhythm, it’s right some things don’t need words. You know you’re living when it all becomes a blur”
Their fifth album was the biggest change in sound, moving to more electric pop sounds, with Chinese Fountain in 2014. The upbeat, catchy chorus of ‘Chinese Fountain’ stays with you, whilst the lyrics are more profound, focussing on the drawbacks of modern times. Despite having more pessimistic lyrics, a particularly decent song on the album is, ‘Dull Boy’. The electric sounds continued through to their next album, as did the pessimistic lyrics, but the sound suits the mood of the track so it works.
This brings us up to date, to their most recent albums that were produced by The Strokes and The Voids, Julian Casablancos. Julian has already produced some of my all-time favourite albums, and tracks so you can imagine my delight to find out he was working with a band like The Growlers.
Keeping their trademark sounds this is a solid album but you can definitely hear ‘The Strokes’-esque sounds weaved through most tracks on the album. So you can understand why a lot of fans were disappointed believing they had sold out their Beach Goth roots. Personally, I think it’s a fantastic album, with the usual well-written lyrics, and mash up of joyful sounds.
The music video for their latest track was released on Valentines Day, ‘Who Loves The Scum’ an upbeat, more indie tune. The video features the story of a snail and once again I’m going to say, just watch it – you will know what I mean. The Growlers are back in the studio now so hopefully album number nine will be out soon.