Jordan Gatesmith does have the same indifference and gruff voice as the Strokes frontman, but that’s where the similarities end. Instead we’re transported to California , with surf rock riffs and high-spirited hand claps.
Admit it, we’re quick to fill the void left by bands that have abandoned us. We love a new band with a fresh sound we can instantly compare to someone else. So we can all breathe a sigh of relief as the music media have finally found the new Strokes, or so they say. The hyped Minnesota band Howler are the owners of that comparison, but their debut; America Give Up is more than just a snug fit for our Julian Casablanca emptiness.
After one listen to the first track Beach Sluts, Jordan Gatesmith does have the same indifference and gruff voice as the Strokes frontman, but that’s where the similarities end. Instead we’re transported to California , with surf rock riffs and high-spirited hand claps. The mix of deadpan vocals and sugar coated melody are the perfect recipe for summertime blues.
In Pythagorean Fearem, the converse-clad quintet pay tribute to American punk. Gatesmith self-adorningly croons with elements of Lou Reed and rockabilly chords that would make the Cramps squirm with delight. Back to Grave is a scuzzy, punky sound that would rival the uncomfortable swagger of Joey Ramone.
This fresh-faced line-up embodies the American dream and America Give Up is an album encased in irony, starting with the title. This Ones Different is a humorously similar, unassuming tune and a tongue in cheek, self-confessed moan to the masses; “I hate the way I talk/ and I hate the way I write”.
The work is a collage of influences, Back of Your Neck is a straight-up 60’s pop song. A simple swingin’ catchy melody complete with beach boy hums that’ll worm straight into your brain. Changing the tone completely, Too Much Blood reveals a hushed reflective break in the album’s cheery chaos with a self-loathing style Jesus and Mary the Chain would create.
Side-stepping predictions for long term success, it’s certain that we’ll be comparing a new wave of bands to Howler soon enough. America Give Up is crammed full of short nuggets of awkward charm that scream the summer vibe. Howler are now the purveyors of all the enthusiasm and excitement we once held for the Drums. Let’s hope these guys make a bigger splash. Surf’s up!