When we started this blog back in early 2011, I thought that one of the prerequisites for a “serious music blog” was to feature downloadable mp3s. And so we did. I, along with millions of other music fans, had converted to mp3-listening by the early 2000’s, and it seemed the best form in which to deliver our content. But oh, how things have changed.
When was the last time you bought an mp3? When was the last time you bought music? The only music I ever purchase any more is either a gift for my parents, or a struggling independent band that I want to support. It’s a political decision more than a practical one. Instead, I, along with millions of other music fans, have switched to streaming our music from subscription services. Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, and many more companies are in the processing of completely eliminating our old listening habits. If you’re a regular OVRLD reader, you’ve noticed this in the fact that now we include streams from Spotify, Soundcloud or even Bandcamp far more than we include downloadable mp3s. It’s not just a political decision (though there are still plenty of problems with the current subscription setup), but it also reflects the changing listening habits of ourselves and our readers.
And so, while Growl’s second EP, Gallery, has been on my list to check out since its release in February, I only finally took a listen this week after they recently made it available on Spotify. On my part, the decision was pure convenience. Plenty of other local bands were on Spotify, catching my attention, and I could listen to them on my phone while I walked or drove around town. Thank God that Growl made their music available on Spotify, because Gallery has completely blown me away.
I’m a big fan of Los Campesinos, whom I love for their unabashedly joyous music, grand hooks and unison singalong choruses. Growl have employed all of these techniques to great effect on Gallery. It helps that the opening to the group’s “Halfway Home” almost completely bites Los Campesinos’ “You! Me! Dancing!” in all of the best ways. But all across these six songs, Growl burst at the seams with “hey”s, “whoa”s and “oh”s that are the only way to express the joy of life sometimes.
“Girlfriend” is the track that sticks out most immediately with its hook of, “Her boyfriend is dead now / And I could never be happier.” It’s funny and catchy, but it’s far from the best song on the record. My favorite at the moment is “Tell,” the opening track, with its insistent rhythm track – bass, drums and guitar all working together to drive the song forward. The arrangement is structured perfectly for maximum release after the lyrics, “Tell me all about it / Tell me all about it.” It’s invigorating and addicting.
And it doesn’t stop there. From “Halfway Home” through to the final, epic “Said and Done,” Growl never once lets up on the gas. Gallery is better than a sugar rush. It’s the kick in the ass that you need to enjoy the shit out of whatever it is that you’re doing. Check it out on your favorite streaming site.
– Carter Delloro