the GROWLERS - Gilded Pleasures EP
The Growlers peddle a brand of slow rock tinged in psychedelic dreams of yesteryear, presented in a warm lo-fi-yet-listenable recording. Gilded Pleasures is an ambitious EP, running up to 9 tracks which begs the question why it wasn’t released as a long player, with its cuts ranging from the sinister opening riff of 'Hiding Under Covers' to upbeat continental inspired 'Ol’ Rat Race'. The songs are undeniably catchy, the grooves undeniably groovy and the vocals undeniably seedy; This is evidenced on EP opener 'Dogheart II' which is one of the finest opening tracks in terms of setting the tone for the tracks which follow.
Legend has it that the EP was recorded and written over a two week explosion of creativity; Brooks and co quickly wrote 9 soulful melodic tunes, before hiding them under a thick treacle layer of reverb, echo and tape phasing to appease the fans, which is evident no more than on fourth track 'Humdrum Blues'. The track, with it’s reverb laden vocal lines and rhythmically pounding drums, made only more bluesy by the playful organ, is evidence of the EPs central goal, and quite simply, rocks.
'Dogheart II' has that leering uncle vibe Nick Cave gives off (minus hauntingly deep vocals), “little girls don’t last forever, enjoy them while you can… take it from a dirty young man”, which if taken out of context could be damning. However, it is not the story presented in the song which stands out, it’s the nitty gritty guitar work, reminiscent of Hawaiian surf sounds on your old surfing movies which make this song so strong. Great classic scales mixed into psychedelic musicianship takes this next level.
When the band explore a more rockin' soundscape, as is evident on 'Change in Your Veins' they call on their 60s surf-rock fandom and (probable) love of hallucinogenic drugs. Guitar sounds, both clean and eventually more noisy, stand front and center to the track which evokes visions of The Doors and the whole beach goth movement.
There are a few tracks which almost appear to be unnecessary, especially on an EP release, which borrow heavily from what you have already heard, stand-alone they would be fine, but back-to-back they’re a little too similiar. Tunes like 'Ego Of Man' evoke the same response as one of the stronger tracks 'Hiding Under Covers', which I get the feeling would be the best on the EP if a little raucous distortion cut through.
The Growlers' Gilded Pleasures is a great EP, but given the current popularity of nostalgia soaked rock on first listen it can seem to lack a certain punch. However, Gilded Pleasures' opener 'Dogheart II' will drag you in, and the EP constantly rewards on subsequent listenings, before heading into high rotation on your playlist. It’s a great album (I’m calling it an album at this stage) for the summer months, a great album for lonely nights and a fairly great album in general.
I give it 7/10
Gilded Pleasures is out now, and is available on vinyl!