Album Review: Howler – America Give Up

It’s difficult to criticise an album for sounding to much like a record from The Strokes but unfortunately Howler draw so heavily from the New York rockers that it becomes difficult to distinguish what new sounds they’ve brought to the table.

On the charmingly titled opener ‘Beach Sluts’ front-man Jordan Gatesmith warbles with the same angst ridden melancholy that Julian Casablancas perfected back in 2001 and ‘Told You Once’ sounds like a low-calorie ‘Last Nite’.
What they lack in uniqueness though, they make up for in energy, song-writing and youthful vitality, after all Gatesmith is only 19 – which might explain the album opener’s title and the lackadaisical anarchic title; what exactly are they asking America to give up anyway?
When the minnesota based five-piece take a break from channeling Casablancas’ troubled band, similarities to a smorgasbord of their contemporaries shine though: ‘Back of Your Neck’ could well have been written by The Drums (if they cheered up a bit) and there are several moments when Howler seem to pastiche The Ramones.

America Give Up comes into it’s own on the final track, ‘Black Lagoon’. It’s everything you’ve wanted from Howler since the opener; passion, memorable riffs, sing-along choruses and splash of originality, but, sadly, it’s too little too late.


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