Friday, 18 November 2011

Flynndie Reviews - Blog #19: Howler - This One's Different EP

Written 18th November 2011:

Howler – This One’s Different EP

The Band: Jordan Gatesmith (vocals, guitar), Max Petrek (keyboards), Brent Mayes (drums), Ian Nygaard (guitar).

So today’s review, much like the record in question, is a little bit different as rather than reviewing a full album, I’m going to review a recent EP of an up-and-coming band, Howler, hailing from Minneapolis in the States with their ‘This One’s Different’ EP which was released at the start of August. The band are currently on tour in the UK with ‘Frankie and the Heartstrings’ and ‘The Vaccines’ so now seems an ideal time to take a look back at this early EP from them, as I suspect songs from this will feature on the tour, and I’ve been listening to this record for a good few months now.

Running Order

1. For All Concern
2. I Told You Once
3. This One’s Different
4. You like White Women I like Cigarettes
5. 14 Days

Right so things get away with a buzzing, garage-rock-like riff kicking-in for opening track ‘For All Concern’. This won’t be the last time I say this in this review, but as the track steadily flows along you instantly pick up the ‘Surfer-vibe’ type sound the band intentionally re-create throughout this record. As an opening-track I think this is a great way to start the record with a catchy main guitar-riff throughout and simple but effective lines “I’m easy to love/But easy to hate” and through the chorus as lead singer, Jordan Gatesmith, croons “I can’t be you’re only one/It’s not me that’s on the run” holding the song together nicely and is a great way to start to the EP.

‘I Told You Once’ follows which initially has a much more acoustic vibe than the frantic pace and rhythm of the EP’s opener while still retaining a big-sound for the band. As the track gets into full-swing, the band re-creates the sound of an easy-going, beach-party in my opinion despite lyrics “I wish there was something that I could do/Cause I hate myself more than I hate you” suggesting that the song implies a strain on couple’s relationship but this song has anything but a downbeat vibe about it and it is more likely you would get caught up in the easy-flowing rhythm and sound of the track.

Title-track ‘This One’s Different’ is probably the stand-out track on the EP. Again with a very much garage-rock feel to it, this returns to a fast and furious pace of opening track ‘For All Concern’. Possibly the biggest complement I can pay this track is that it sounds very much like The Strokes if they had been up all-night taking Speed and features some excellently-timed guitar solos that pulse through the veins of this song and ultimately the EP overall!

Next up with have the excellently titled ‘You like White Women I like Cigarettes’ and this track features the biggest ‘Surfer’ feel about it yet on the EP! The song has a real ‘Beach Boys’ feel about it in my opinion and certainly wouldn’t be out of place on ‘The Happy Days’ Jukebox (Ask your parent’s kids!) Flying past quickly at just 2 minutes, the song manages to cram in yet another catchy guitar track, with some backing-keys thrown in for good measure on this one too.

The EP closes with ’14 Days’ and we go back to the garage-roots-rock from earlier, but this time certainly at a more leisurely tempo than ‘For All Concern’ and ‘This One’s Different’. The track literally coasts along nicely and cleverly towards the end of the track, the band slowly start to reverse back through the sound of the first two choruses of the song and most likely reverse back into a garage where it’s clear the band have rehearsed so hard to nail their unique but accomplished sound throughout this EP.

I think fans of the early Strokes records and the recent Vaccines album will take to this EP like a surfboard-to-water (see what I did there?!) The band clearly had a defined sound that they wanted to create for this EP and through all 5 tracks I feel they nail it to a high standard each time! As I said early in this review I’ve had the EP for a few months now but I still find this EP refreshing to listen to with each listen and 20 minutes just fly-by when I put this on in the background. I’m very keen to see how many of these tracks, if they decide to use any, make it on to the band’s first full debut album but bearing in mind how young a band they are too I’m hoping to see them go on to big things in the future and for the EP for the time-being I’m going to award it 8 Howls out of 10! The EP is currently available from ‘Rough Trade’ records on 12” vinyl (nice!) or as a download so feel free to check it out some time (, as this is one band I’m keeping a close eye on for the future!

Always the Same ‘Flynny’

Track 1 ‘For All Concern’

Track 4 ‘You like White Women I like Cigarettes’

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