One of the biggest issues with bands that have been around for a long time is the glooming potential of making something boring and uninspiring. Unfortunately, The Growlers seem to have fallen into this category with their latest release ‘City Club’. It still contains some good songs, however, the majority of it feels like tired musicians trying to please their fans – art is supposed to break boundaries, connect people and inspire change. All ‘City Club’ does is play off the bands image of merging unconventional genres. Yes, there are some rough rock elements, some emotional folk sounds, and to top it all off, the psychedelic pop rock merges its head once in a while. The record isn’t bad, it’s just not good enough, especially knowing what the band is capable of.
The album starts off promising. It shows off the complexity and catchiness that the band is known for. The song ‘City Club’ feels like it has jumped into a time machine and travelled here from the 1970s. It has a classic disco pop rhythm and is juxtaposed against indie folk sounding chorus. It is entertaining and creative, fitting in the bands image as the pioneers of genre-merging.
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Another stand-out song is ‘Vacant Lot’, mostly due to its harsher rock-like sound. The rest of the album is a lot more psychedelic and folk-feeling, meanwhile this song doesn’t even try to appear remotely uplifting. It is dark and moody, guitars are muddy and the Brooks Nielsen’s voice is perfectly raspy.
The second half of the album feels rushed. For example, ‘Speed Living’ shows how the band is just not challenging themselves enough. It has a similar beat to the classic ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’, which on its own should make the song more fun and catchy. Yet from the first few words the vocals seem to lose all feeling it had in the beginning of the record. The song is overly repetitive and just does not seem to go anywhere. It isn’t horrible, it just needed more time and attention to evolve into something spectacular.
The Growlers are known for their unique music genre-bending abilities and they have given their fans 10 years of complex sounds. ‘City Club’, unfortunately, seems like a project that the band was very excited about in the beginning, however, midway through they maybe lost interest. The songs have all the right hooks, but the feeling isn’t there. Even the genre meshing doesn’t sound so appealing, as if the band is simply trying to combine random melodies without putting any effort into making them fit.
‘City Club’ is out now via Cult Records.