ALBUM REVIEW: Howler – World Of Joy
It could have gone either way for this Minneapolis gang. After seemingly a year of inactivity and the promise of new material very soon, Howler drop their sophomore LP after surf-tinged debut ‘America Give Up’. The group of twentysomethings lead by the graciously cool Jordan Gatesmith aiming to shrug off the comparisons to a rip off derivative Strokes tribute band.
Partially skewing away from the templated sound of their no bullshit surf guitar debut, they decide to keep a lot of core ingredients that made the typical Howler sound in opener ‘Al’s Corral’. Gatesmith dominantly penned the first album whilst living in his parents’ house across the pond, “World Of Joy” sounds much more of a team effort, pile-driving fuzzy instrumentals whenever possible, not to say Gatesmith’s lead isn’t prominent, because it is. ‘Drip’ & ‘In The Red’ gather much more inspiration from 70s punk-pop with widescreen vocals that could be mistaken for a Ramones tune.
Standout track comes from the titled ‘World Of Joy’ with an atmospheric wallop of post-punk and a very bass slap heavy start & distorted multi-vocals.Finding closure in a typical lavish TOY track that is ambient stretch heightening Howler’s growth, not to say they have eradicated their vintage sunny sound with closing tracks ‘Indictment’ and ‘Aphorismic Wasteland Blues’ (containing the same wet strum-along as ‘America’) have become pitch-perfect leaving callow radio rock characteristics behind, taking baby-steps musically to come of age.