Halfway through any previous Growlers album, I find myself bogged down in a rut. The sluggish thicket of their beach goth tunes and the overall lack of careful production provide a unifying effect for their sound, but sometimes to the point where it all begins to sound the same, which is a shame, since the songs are actually pretty great.
Even after polishing up Chinese Fountain, however, the Growlers retain the best of their sound: drawling vocals singing memorable lyrics, and tarnished gold guitar melodies twirling around, almost independent of the heavy bass propulsion.
Brooks Nielsen sounds fresher, critiquing the modern generation on “Chinese Fountain”, and announcing that “The Internet is bigger than Jesus and John Lennon”. On the slightly drearier “Magnificent Sadness”, he muses that “Trouble happens to the rich and the poor/To the prude and the downright whore”-his lines, combined with Matt Taylor’s guitar melodies, just sound so…right. The few swaying ballads of the album carry a little unexpected 50s charm, particularly on the Buddy Holly-tinged “Rare Hearts”.
Clearly the Growler’s eclectic mish mash has not been lost-in fact, now it shines through all the better.