America Give Up is an album I have been craving since my ears were blessed by Casablancas and co. Having formed in 2010, Howler have eased their way into indie lovers’ lives, infecting groups of moshers and the leather-wearing dark lords of the micro-scenes. It could be said that I’m a little crazy about them. However, for now, I best stick to just the album...
Frontman, and 44th coolest musician of 2011 Jordan Gatesmith adds to the overwhelming rock sound with his scuzzy, Minnesotan tones. If I’m honest, I can’t say I dislike one track from America Give Up. Having seen them live twice this year I can’t emphasize the way America Give Up perfectly fits their presence on stage, their uncontrollable volume, and their sheer talent in providing a memorable and energetic show. Even the slower offerings such as ‘Too Much Blood’, ‘Beach Sluts’ and ‘Free Drunk’ provide a heavy enough sound to turn heads and shake the floor. Not many bands could pull off a song about their country, or even naming an album after it. But ‘America...’ avoids the patriotic, preachy stuff that Neil Diamond’s ‘America’ portrays. Instead the lyrics ‘I give up’ are repeated which amplifies the bullish pessimism and sniggering scepticism that leaks through the songs. Their singles, ‘Back of Your Neck’, ‘This One’s Different’ and ‘Told You Once’ really disperse the energy that Howler hold. Guitarists Ian Nygaard and Jordan Gatesmith make the layers and catchy riffs stand out, and the insane drumming of Brent Mayes adds to the rough and ready charisma. My personal favourite of the album is the last track ‘Black Lagoon’. Fans get drawn in by the catchiness of the chorus when Gatesmith spells B-L-A-C-K L-A-G-ohh-ohh-N. Each time I listen to it, I can clearly imagine the craziness of the crowd back at Reading and the NME Generations Tour, when the curly haired, leather wearing crowd were head banging ferociously whilst yelling the black lagoon chorus, trying to override both Howler’s velocity and their effortless cool.
Howler have made incredible headway, and I can’t wait for new material from these guys. America Give Up is incredible and energy filled, perfect for the cold, dark winter days and it sounds like it’s not even trying.
Words: Cerys Kenneally