– by Zev Weinstein
Have you heard the new Growlers album? I have, and although I wouldn’t call it their most unique album to date, there is something intriguingly meaningful about it. So intriguing in fact, that after listening to it I found myself sitting on the dusty couch in my garage with purple nail polish on, beach gothing it out in my kimono with the dinged up electric I found at the local pawn shop. But what is it that makes The Growlers so mystically profound? For one the stoic drunken rambling of singer Brooks Nielsen are far more than just another tequila soaked page out of his diary full of cactus doodles and melancholy poetry, they’re an account of the unavoidable angst of everyday life.
However it’s not all lugubrious love songs and angsty poems for this Costa Mesa quintet, with lyrics like ‘when the going gets tough, that the labor of our love will reward us soon enough.’ This sort of positive romanticism adds a level of lyricism that is somewhat forgotten in modern music. It’s also an ode to the band themselves. 2014 marks a huge year for The Growlers, with highlights including eating tacos, surfing, and even playing to a sold out crowd in their home town for their Beach Goth 3 party, alongside acts like Foxygen, The Drums and even Wutang’s GZA. This year was also characterised by difficulties, the hardship of watching their home studio burn down in a fireworks accident, and the pain of a good friend passing away. This history adds an element of identity to The Growlers which makes them more than just a band, and of course this mass of character bleeds into there new album Chinese Fountain.
The 11-track album was recorded quickly in a week and a half, at Sea Horse Sands Studio in down-town Los Angeles. It may be their most diverse album yet, while maintaining their usual premise of soulful sea shanties, reverb heavy surf rock and gypsy-like melodies. The band branches out, with a reggae dub feel on The Going gets Tuff, sort of a spaced out disco beat on Good Advice and most notably some synthy disco funk on the title track Chinese Fountain. Track 11 Purgatory Drive may even hold reference to the movie Repo Man and in some ways is subtly influenced by The Plugz’ score for the iconic 1984 lonesome punk film. Chinese Fountain is a bench mark album for The Growlers, showing them step out of their sandy beach cave full of empty tequila bottles, old combo organs, and scratched up telecasters, onto a stage doing what they do best, dancing around like drunken surf bums covered in make up. Don’t just take my word for it: go out and buy the darn thing.
- Going Gets Tuff
- Purgatory Drive
- Good Advice