[ALBUM REVIEW] The Growlers: Chinese Fountain
The Growlers have emerged from the murky depths of a white-capped sea off the coast of Southern California, and they’ve come baring treasure. Their fifth album, Chinese Fountain, was written and recorded over the course of one month, and marks their most refined, experimental work thus far. Taking refuge in the brick-walled confines of Los Angeles’ Seahorse Sound Studios, Captain Brooks and his beach rat brigade hoisted the sails of their tattered vessel to embark on unchartered waters. Genre-wise, the 11 tracks accumulate to a goulash of goodness; touching on chilled-out reggae, surf-punk, and disco, but at the heart of it all is the salty swagger of beach goth’s sole pioneers.
Our stroll down the black sand beach begins with “Big Toe”; a hammer of a tune that strikes down in true Growlers’ fashion with reverb soaked howls and bright guitars rested atop a thumpy bassline. From here the album becomes a funhouse of sorts, with twists and turns through varied musical stylings. The title track “Chinese Fountain” is a shadow-dwelling disco jam that acknowledges youth culture’s infatuation with technology while ironically leaning on a number of flashy synthesizers.
In light of their past work, Chinese Fountain is a focused piece that points to the band’s growth not only musically but mentally. They’re no longer wallowing in the memories of lost loves or freak accidents that result in their warehouse burning down. The wisdom shines through most on the optimistically crafted “Going Gets Tough” with the calming realization that “...when the going gets tough, our labor of love will reward us soon enough.”
Working alongside their longtime partners at Everloving Records, the album was released September 23rd and will be toured internationally through the end of November. San Franciscans can catch them at Treasure Island Music Festival while those in southern California should be in attendance of their annual Beach Goth Party October 25th.