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America Give Up (Rough Trade)

CD Review: Howler

As the latest American band to be described as the ‘Saviours Of Rock’n’Roll’ by the NME, there are two inevitabilities about Howler: they sound like The Strokes and they will be hit by an almighty backlash in about a month’s time.

I’m not starting the backlash here though, because Howler are pretty good. Young, dumb and lacking in originality they may be; but as Noel Gallagher might say, “at least they can write a fookin’ tune”.

Opener ‘Beach Sluts’ is like the Raveonettes if they were fronted by a horny teen instead of a pair of Danish goths. In ‘Back To The Grave’ they filch The Jesus and Mary Chain’s reverb-heavy stomp and Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s drier-than-dry vocal style.

I’m not a fan of bands giving their songs awful, punny names to let everyone know their derivativeness is actually postmodernism (‘Pythagorean Fearem’), and as with The Strokes their singer can be slightly unconvincing. But this is a consistent and deceptively thoughtful debut: one for the 2012 end-of-year polls, no doubt.

Posted on Wednesday 11th January 2012
Alistair Brown

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