Howler – America Give Up

For a band that formally started in 2010, Howler has been booming, with the band getting listed on NME’s top three bands for 2011 and their front-man Jordan Gatesmith landing a spot in NME’s top fifty cool people. It’s like The Beach Boys and The Strokes exploded together creating this amazing sound that is Howler.

From the very first track, the first riff and even the first title America Give Up is an album which brings back memories of everything great about summer, especially the mosh pits.

For Jordan Gatesmith, lead vocalist and guitarist, to have made the transformation from a metal band to a fun surf and grungy garage rock sound is nothing less than awesome. Here, the easygoing melodies of the sweet guitars instantly contrast with the coarse guitars throughout most of the tracks, providing the lead sound with a mixture of abrasion and melody. By softening the drums, using them as more of a time-keeper so you know when to bop your head to the other side, Howler sets this album aside from most other grunge tracks. The keyboards maintain a soft flow of ambiance throughout the tracks that strikes a peculiar but workable balance between the contrasting eras of the 50s sweet surf tunes and the raw attitude of the 80s grunge scene. This album not only remarkably performs the balancing act between eras and instruments, it also maintains that balance from one track to the next.

“Beach Sluts” starts off with a fifties vibe until the chorus which bursts into grunge rock while retaining  the surf melody of the guitars. That first track instantly introduces what America Give Up is all about. The second tracks starts off with a harsher sound that soothes the grunge into their album a little more as he uses his vocals to keep in the surf pop feeling. The third track “This One’s Different” does not start sounding too different from various bands until Gatesmith starts singing and uses his rough, deep vocals to sing some sweet lyrics that make your heart melt. The fifth track “Too Much Blood” brings in something quite different, where the ambiance overtakes the soft surf drumming and the grungy guitars.

Some tracks, more than others, really put you back into the fifties making you do the surf dances waving your hands about then before you know it you’re swaying and jumping around like nobody is watching because all that matters is the music. America Give Up is definitely a record worth having on your shelf and great to enjoy on a summer night with mates and a drink in your hand.  
by Kristina Dias

January 18th 2012
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