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REVIEW: The Growlers - City Club

REVIEW: The Growlers - City Club

By: Jessica Gonzalez
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A review of the The Growlers album City Club.

 

California-based, funky rock band The Growlers has finally blessed us with some new music. Following 2014's Chinese Fountain (which honestly doesn't seem that long ago -- I saw them on tour last spring), City Club rides on the same free spirit rhythms and gritty, sensual melodies. However, there is something markedly more clean about the production in this new release.


Could part of this 'something' be Julian Casablancas' help on the album's single, "I'll Be Around"? Either way, who's complaining? This is the collaboration fans probably didn't even know they wanted. The distortion in Brooks' voice (and in other songs throughout City Club) is undoubtedly reminiscent of Casablancas in his Strokes days. The rhythm is crisp, but the melody -- dare I say -- sounds a bit more commercial. While this could be a refreshing change for those who are used to the more garage-y, free-form sound The Growlers have coined for so long, I can also see how the comparative cleanness on these tracks could be disappointing. I have to admit that I prefer the kookier, "Beach Goth" melodies and overall atmosphere of older Growlers songs.


This is not to say that City Club isn't a solid effort. Songs like "Vacant Lot" and "Too Many Times" still showcase Brooks' songwriting ability -- charming, felt, biting, and comforting. "Too Many Times", in particular recalls the 2013 song "Change in Your Veins", from the album Gilded Pleasures. Both songs feature a "brother" as the focal point, managing personal and universal. We've all felt some kind of complicated responsibility for someone close to us in trying times. So, while songs on City Club tend to come off more commercial, catchy, and overall, likely more friendly to someone who's not used to lo-fi  garage fuzz, they still manage to retain the raw emotion that The Growlers have been supplying us for so long.


Other notable tracks include "Neverending Line" and "World Unglued". The latter reminds me the most of songs off Chinese Fountain, from the percussion to the forlorn-sounding riffs. Overall, City Club shows that change isn't always a bad thing, highlighting the Growlers as a band that isn't afraid to grow and be dynamic.

 

The Growlers - City Club


Listen to a song by clicking on a title below:

Click to Play The Growlers - "City Club"

Click to Play The Growlers - "I'll Be Around"

Click to Play The Growlers - "Night Ride"

 
 
 
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