“I stop trying to make sense of it all,” sings Brooks Nielsen on ‘City Club’’s
opening title track. That, more or less, sums up what I’ve been doing
myself, listening to the Growlers’Growlers
new album so clearly co-produced by Julian Casablanca and out on his
Cult Records label. Little or nothing at all of Growlers’ signature SoCal
beach goth sound survived the Strokes makeover, to the point that
it’s impossible to tell which band is playing on the title track or ‘Too Many Times’, where Brooks sings through ‘Is This It’ distortion. Only ‘When You
Were Made’ is there to remind us of how good this Growlers’ album could
The ‘60s inspiration strives to survive while synths, filtered voices and afro percussions find their overbearing way everywhere else, making a clean
sweep of all the garage and DIY
influences of the band, and taking away the distinctive freshness of
Progress is neve something to oppose to, but there’s a huge difference between making someone’s sound evolve and turning
someone into one’s own clone.
A difference that, here, failed to show.
“All I knew is that I wanted to work with a female singer, but I had no idea what I wanted to do, really,” explains Joni, echoing what Miller told us back
“I just had a couple of tunes and a few ideas.
Since Sara and I met though, we’ve always had a bit of a concept of what we want to do.
We’ve got a vision and we’ve just been building on that since.”
Visions of Trees sound remarkably like the sum of their parts.
Joni still listens to Slayer and Sepultura but also Destiny’s Child and commercial RnB with Sara, explaining
why their sound, which has until now been mislabelled ‘chill wave’ (“because we toured with Memory Tapes,” figures Joni), has a
knowing, glossy sheen. And while a track like ‘Kings’ has a kind of major label, velvet soul that
Drake would love to robotically auto-gargle over, ‘Synchronized’
is cold and desolate like Joni’s
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