Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Art of the Cover - The Growlers' "Chinese Fountain" (2014)

Chinese Fountain cover art

A  wonderful athmospheric neon-tastic cover adorns this fine recent opus by Cali cult faves The Growlers - a band consisting of Brooks Nielsen, Matt Taylor, Scott Montoya, Anthony Braun Perry and Kyle Straka.

Yap, it's the mighty "Chinese Fountain" - one of my favorite collections of the past 12 months.

The music of The Growlers is unmistakable.  Sure, you can hone in on some influences baked into the work of this California-bred band. Damn, even they'd cop to a few, like Ricky Nelson and The Clash. But once those same RIYL tags have been filtered through the minds and hands and voices of this five-piece, there's simply nothing else like it.

The Growlers took the phrase ''Beach Goth'' as an apt descriptor of their music. Sunburned and salty, that term perfectly describes their distinctive melding of reverb heavy surf guitar and Bakersfield-style honky tonk with '80s post-punk.

This is especially true of Chinese Fountain, the band's fifth full-length set, released via Everloving Records.

The 11 songs found on it are some of the strongest that they've committed to tape yet; a byproduct not only of eight years in the trenches together, but finely honing their gypsy folk dirges and psychedelic sea shanties to fans at close to 150 shows each year.

The connection between vocalist Brooks Nielsen and guitarist Matt Taylor (the principal songwriters of the group) has only grown deeper. Confidence bleeds through every track on Chinese Fountain, with the band assured enough to layer in shades of many new influences: the loping ska beat of ''Dull Boy'' and ''Going Gets Tuff,'' the playful disco beat behind the title track, or the Teardrop Explodes-like agitation of ''Good Advice.''


1. Big Toe
2. Black Memories
3. Chinese Fountain
4. Dull Boy
5. Good Advice 03:24
6. Going Gets Tuff
7. Magnificent Sadness
8. Love Test
9. Not The Man
10. Rare Hearts
11. Purgatory Drive

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