EP Review: Hot Tropics [2010]

Band: The Growlers
Release: 10/2010
Label: Everloving

1. “Graveyard’s Full” – A-
2. “Nosebleed Sun” – B
3. “What It Is” – A-
4. “The Moaning Man From Shanty Town” – B
5. “Sea Lions Goth Blues” – A+
6. “Badlands” – B
7. “Let It Be Known” – B
8. “Camino Muerto” – B+
9. “Underneath Our Palms” – A
10. “Hula Hula Hideout” – B

Comments: The Growlers are pretty distinctly So. Cal, which is a pretty daunting statement to make in an age where there is striking diversity among bands from that area. What I meant to say is they aren’t too far away from Mexico and listening to their music confirms this. Opener “Graveyard’s Full” features lead and bass guitar riffs that border on traditional Mexican/Caribbean. Singer Brook Nielson’s vocal style — part raspy/part laid-back eerie — fits genuinely on tunes like this. Short ditties like “Nosebleed Sun” add to the mystique of the band. What the hell are they singing about, anyway? I haven’t been able to discern such, but such does not matter much. Rhyming, for the win. Anyway, “Sea Lion Goth Blues” is this release’s best song and it’s not like its new or anything. Far from it. Other versions of “Sea Lion” have featured a more prominent lead guitar — one of the best of its kind that I’ve heard in the last year or so. The surf notes are compelling. Still, the added echo and reverb on Brooks’ vocals and the respective instruments are refreshing. My second favorite song on here is probably the second-to-last ditty entitled “Underneath Our Palms.” It’s plainly neat.

Grade: B+ (88)