Apparently, California's The Growlers are self-proclaimed “Beach Goths”, which I suppose best describes their sinister take on surf music. Drenched in heavy, sun-soaked reverb and gloomy 80s post-punk, ‘Chinese Fountain’, the band’s fourth LP, weaves between sunny and sullen; coalescing the best of both worlds with perhaps more confidence than on previous records.
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- Chinese Fountain by The Growlers
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Mixing the surf-rock influences of their native California with some dirty and downtrodden post-punk and synthpop influences that seem to have been picked up from this side of the Atlantic, Growlers describe their sound as "beach goth", although that's something of a reductive way of explaining the varied and tuneful contents of their fourth album 'Chinese Fountain', which within the space of three tracks has already taken me through Kurt Vile-ish songwritering, eerie Carnivores (ATL) style girl group inspired ghostliness and, most surprising of all, the CSS-inspired funk strut of the title track.
The early Strokes-ish 'Good Advice' provides another highlight with its simple hooks and cracked but melodic vocals giving a good balance between the weary "goth" resignation and the breezy "beach" lightness in a warm Britpop-paced plod. They're reminding me quite a lot of Deerhunter in places, but with less of that band's hazy subtlety and more of a strident pop head on these shoulders, throwing in tropical textures and jumbo-sized vocal melodies. Sometimes they edge towards the irritating side of saccharine on tracks like 'Love Test' but for the most part 'Chinese Fountain' is another pretty consistent effort from Growlers.
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