Second time round, Howler’s focus has moved to their lyrical content rather than creating energetic, bratty, Beach Rock guitar riffs.
It’s not to say that World Of Joy lacks movement, the force to get people up and dancing. Howler seems to have had an epiphany in between the journey from America, Give Up to World Of Joy. They’ve realised that Beach Rock has been done, it’s always been done, you’re not going to recreate Beach Rock to new dizzying levels. Howler’s work has now focused on lyrical presentation, which has made for some further interesting guitar hooks bizarrely. They’ve dipped into Rock n Roll’s history with more chilled out rhythms on Don’t Wanna, to more Punk-ish, wilder riffs on Drip and especially on World Of Joy.
Ignoring the awful artwork for World Of Joy, which wouldn’t have even worked for the band’s debut LP; second time round, Howler are still sticking to their guns with short, gut filled, Summer drenched tracks that are perfectly suited for partying to and even lazing about to. Yacht Boys and In The Red, bleed out Give Up, twisting Pythagorean Theorem into Punk/Beach Rock bliss that feels reminiscent of The Ramones.
World Of Joy’s true Pythagorean Theorem comes from the half way point, World Of Joy. It doesn’t just create distance from the rest of the album, it creates a whole other universe. Reverbed vocals sing dryly alongside deep, Punk fueled, howling basses and guitars, for some much needed aggression from a Punk/Beach Rock band that seem to have produced a Pop album by accident. Don’t Wanna summons Beach Pop to the surface beautifully, with cruising guitars playing a repeated motif, PC for Beach Pop. The lyrics however try to cast away from this with anti-anti rebellious lyrics.
You don’t have to be Kurt Cobain if you don’t want to / You don’t have to listen to The Smiths if you don’t want.
Howler’s style hails from these two bands movements, and yet they’re saying it’s fine if you don’t listen to them. They’re inadvertently slagging off their influences.
However this isn’t the major problem for Howler. The problem for Howler is that, even though 2014 has yet to reach April, most of the band’s style has been captured by other bands, whether it’s the bratty rock styles of Drowners and Skaters or the slower, dream pop magic from Jaws. For listeners who haven’t heard any of the styles on different releases, World Of Joy approaches this brand of Beach Rock/Brat Rock with a more senior attempt, aiming for more universal lyrics than the in your face, gritty hooks of America, Give Up found on Pythagorean Theorem. However the heartache of Louise is so unbearable with lyrics of: ‘Louise, oh please, I want to tell you that I love you, but I know it’s not love.’ Write a song about a girl, write an album about a girl (like Alex Turner…), just don’t produce this whiny drab, that takes away focus from the songs rocking, joyable essence found in the music of the track.
In a one word summary: Modification. Howler pulled out Give Up’s strongest Punk/Beach Rock moments, and decided to tweak them with new, attainable lyrics for just about anyone, and placed some new Pop elements in, that sometimes fell short when trying to grasp a vague interest of listeners, especially on Louise. It’s truly re-hit and miss. One play you dislike Don’t Wanna, the next you love it and hate Louise, than you love it and so on. It’s pure madness. It’s an enjoyable album to say the least.