Austin, Texas has a lot of things going on musically…it’s got psych, garage, indie pop, but it’s been lacking a great guitar rock band. Well, Growl aims to change that by releasing the really powerful and melodic No Years EP.
“Afra & Me” immediately kicks things off with some dueling distorted guitars working against each other. But, when they join to bring the vocals into the mix, they’ve got an incredible force that really makes a lasting impression on the listener. Think Surfer Blood if they made a more mathematic rock tune; these dudes are better. Then things get slowed down just a touch for “Yacanlu,” which is a song that really relies upon the vocals to propel the song; it’s good to let the focus shift from musicianship to vocal prowess, and in that area, Growl excel.
“Buffalo” is one of the tracks that really stands out to me on my run through of the record. In the beginning the guitar noodling in an angular manner really lets you sink your teeth into the track, then the vocals and their drawn out soaring syllables provide you with that moment you’re always looking for in a good rock track: singable moments. It’s definitely a youthful vibe.
The latter half of the No Years EP is still devoted to the guitar, though the lighter-fare. “Going Blind” has incredible hooks built in to surround the listener with a feeling of joy. There’s a stomping sensation inserted with “Review,” which is a fitting return to the band’s more riotous sounds; it’s filled with crashing cymbal work and ringing guitars that are built to break down your eardrums. Then it all ends with the well-constructed long-burner, “Rosie.” It begins rather casually, with a softer side showing through (and the vocals remind me of Very Emergency-era Promise Ring), but they blast off with the chorus, really breaking things open.
We thought when Growl released their Gallery EP that they were off to a really good start, but they’ve made an EP that begs for you to listen to anywhere you please, just as long as you aim to have a little fun. Get the No Years EP, turn it up loud, and remember what it’s like to rock out. Good to know Austin has a voice for great guitar rock.