Howler | World of Joy (Rough Trade)

Howler 75

This is an album showing promise far beyond that of a normal sophomore attempt.



From the start of the cowbell in the first track, “Al’s Corral,” to the distant strum of the last track, “Aphorismic Wasteland Blues,” Howler’s new full-length album World of Joy finds a groove and pretty much stays in it through the other eight tracks in between.  Marked by quick guitar riffs and alternating with clean, crisp vocals, the sound put out by the Minneapolis quartet hearkens to an incarnation of indie rock that enjoys glory in the spotlight with bands like The Hives and The Arctic Monkeys, and makes it their own with deliciously cool tracks like “Drip,” “In The Red,” and the droning hypnotism of title track “World of Joy.”

A classic-style-made-new feel comes through with “Don’t Wanna” and “Indictment,” both of which offer an overall flavor that mimics post-punk greatness from the past decades and provide a clear indication of Howler’s diversity in its talent.  

Indie rock has mellowed to the point of being almost boring with developments over the past decade. Some of the magic seems to have been lost in albums put out that offer nothing but litanies of one slow, sleepy song after another with a jolt of energy inserted once or twice somewhere in the track list. Howler’s ability to energize its music gives the genre the shot in the arm that is sorely needed, and World of Joy takes a photo-negative approach to that album structure by packing it full of electricity, slowing here and there with an occasional, well-executed application of the brakes.

In an album showing promise far beyond that of a normal sophomore attempt, front man Jordan Gatesmith writes lyrics that provide an autobiographical look at the formation of the band’s craft in their hometown. He remarks, “There is something fantastical about Minneapolis rock mythology. It’s a city that has spawned many stories and stars, all of which have left their energies to haunt the vast amount of venues and bars in town.” B+ | Jason Neubauer

RIYL: The Hives, International Noise Conspiracy, The Thermals

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