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 411mania » Music » Album Reviews

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Howler - World of Joy Review
Posted by Daniel Wilcox on 04.03.2014





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Howler is:
Jordan Gatesmith – vocals, guitar
Ian Nygaard – guitar
Max Petrek – bass
Roy MacMurdo – drums



HowlerWorld of Joy


Track listing:
1. Al's Corral
2. Drip
3. Don't Wanna
4. Yacht Boys
5. In the Red
6. World of Joy
7. Louise
8. Here's the Itch That Creeps Through My Skull
9. Indictment
10. Aphorismic Wasteland Blues
Running time: 27:30

Howler – another band who came to my attention thanks to the non-stop hype machine that is powered by the likes of the New Musical Express and various other indie-centric publications. In 2011, Howler was supposed to be everyone's favourite new band, or at the very least everyone's second or third favourite new band. The garage foursome offered up their deliriously infectious debut LP America Give Up to modest success and have subsequently toured all over the world earning themselves quite the following. The band has been somewhat quiet in the last year or so as Jordan Gatesmith and co have been busy writing the follow up to the 2011's debut and now, via Rough Trade records, World of Joy is finally here.

If you weren't already sold on Howler off the back of their debut record then the first thing that you should probably know is that World of Joy is not likely to change your opinion of the band as it offers up much the same garage punk as its predecessor. This isn't necessarily a bad thing – band's in their infancy should shy away from changing up their sound too much on their sophomore album anyway, especially if, like Howler, their records are short, punchy offerings that barely last half an hour. World of Joy doesn't even make the 30 minute mark, clocking in at a brisk 27 minutes 30 seconds. This means two things – firstly there's no danger of the record becoming a chore to listen and secondly and perhaps most importantly, Howler's World of Joy leaves the listener wanting more.

All that said, there is certainly things that are noticeably different about album number two. First and foremost, in the three year's between albums the band has changed drummer, dropping the son of Prince (allegedly) in favour of Roy MacMurdo. [Sidenote: the Prince rumour was never denied but the band does have some famous connections – frontman Gateshead has been in a relationship with the daughter of the Smith's Johnny Marr for quite some time.] Furthermore, Gateshead has taken a step back in terms of the album's song-writing – once the sole writer of the offerings, Gateshead has allowed the other band members to come on board with the writing process. This is evident throughout the album and as a result we get the first taste of something resembling a ballad from Howler. Although “Here's the Itch” isn't exactly the most breath-taking piece of music you'll ever here it certainly does offer up a change of past towards the end of an album that is otherwise in your face and balls to the wall for 20 minutes up to that point.

While Gateshead and co are no longer lingering in their late-teens, the band still shows no real signs of growing up – and this is most certainly a positive thing. On lead single “Don't Wanna” the band flicks a finger in the face of authority and shuns hipsterdom in favour of doing, well, pretty much whatever they want. That means “you don't have to listen to the Smiths, if you won't wanna.” Johnny will not like that one bit. But Gatesmith doesn't care and nor should he. The aforementioned lead single is a little bit more mellow than the majority of the record though, acting as something as a red-herring. World of Joy is perhaps even more vicious and forthcoming than the band's debut, more often than not, and that is a blessing. The band basks in the glory that is its influences, from the likes of Iggy Pop, early Strokes and yes, the Smiths. Howler continues to wear its heart on its sleeve with album number two and we appreciate them for it.



Howler - “Don't Wanna”


The 411: While Gateshead and co are no longer lingering in their late-teens, the band still shows no real signs of growing up – and this is most certainly a positive thing. On lead single “Don't Wanna” the band flicks a finger in the face of authority and shuns hipsterdom in favour of doing, well, pretty much whatever they want. That means “you don't have to listen to the Smiths, if you won't wanna.” Johnny will not like that one bit. But Gatesmith doesn't care and nor should he. The aforementioned lead single is a little bit more mellow than the majority of the record though, acting as something as a red-herring. World of Joy is perhaps even more vicious and forthcoming than the band's debut, more often than not, and that is a blessing. The band basks in the glory that is its influences, from the likes of Iggy Pop, early Strokes and yes, the Smiths. Howler continues to wear its heart on its sleeve with album number two and we appreciate them for it.
 
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend





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