Howler - America Give Up
The kind of easily-digestible festival fodder that could hit the spot live, but is dull on record
You think we would all have learned by now that it is frankly unproductive to call anything the ‘new this’, the ‘next that’, or, god forbid, ‘the hottest thing you’ll hear all year’. Sadly, whether they’re aware of it or not, young US hopefuls, Howler, are currently drowning in this kind of sentiment – ‘The new Strokes’ is one of their latest labels. It’s lazy and sucks the fun out of taking a band on their own terms, but even more annoyingly, in this particular case, it’s almost right.
Their debut, America Give Up, is half an hour of summery, scrappy, retro-fascinated guitar songs, complete with a similarly muffled, over-accented howl (which is pretty apt) of the kind Julian Casablancas has been dining out on for years. Without patronising them for being ‘pretty good for their age’, let’s just say this: it’s not bad, but it’s just not that good either. It’s the kind of easily-digestible festival fodder that’ll probably hit the spot live, but on record it’s about as dull as a Glasgow summer.