Another layer of 1’s and 0’s *(yeah, I well know speaking binary is the techno-jargon equivalent of Aramaic, so fukkin’ what, I’m a Technological Troglodyte as is) slipped into my electromail from the AndroidVirus; another layer of sonic 1’s and 0’s of the unexpected.
I’ve never heard of THE GROWLERS, but they’ve apparently been around a few years now. Originally forming in 2006 in Dana Point, California, then moving to Costa Mesa, located amongst the fouly-meshing suburban sprawl of Orange County, California, CHINESE FOUNTAIN is their fourth full length album *(they also happen to have have six eps, and two singles, as well). Since then they’ve created an interestingly theatrical *(and subversively dark) style of music most reminiscent of a goth-tinged 60’s garage punk, with a slight twist of surf *(or perhaps a surf of the twisted). Don’t be fooled, however, for no surfer here attempts to swim back in before having their heart and soul torn to pieces by beautiful and vicious sharks, hidden in the crests of chaos of those waves, hungry sharks of absent mind and hateful hearts. And no one will be there to help you back to shore.
CHINESE FOUNTAIN is incredibly polished in comparison to some of their previous works I’ve checked out since hearing this, and to my ears *(and henceforth mind), it happens to be the most interesting. They’ve come up with their own uniquely morose sound, a bitter sarcasm successfully disguised in the sun-drenched sands of beaches filled with beautiful creatures of ill intent and wearing their own facade of come-hither, hybrid moment looks of disgust. When really listened to, CHINESE FOUNTAIN plays through the mind like some Google AI “Dreaming Computer” nightmare-menagerie of slow madness. The most open of areas become claustrophobic nightmares of haunting memory, desires never attained, and awaking to another day that will merely feel like the last. It’s the opposite of being trapped in a dark and lightless tunnel; you’re trapped in the desiccated fissures within the masked facades of purgatory souls.
THE GROWLERS’ refer to their sonic stylings as “Beach Goth,” which in all honesty is as good a way to put it as any. In fact, that’s exactly what this is. The lyrics are all slyly worded, gut wrenching tales of a lonely hopelessness and bone-weary numbness that never ceases, but forever increases.There’s a deep honesty in what they speak, woven in seamlessly with the mockingly feel-good facade of a sonic atmosphere of subversion and aversion that CHINESE FOUNTAIN creates. It’s sort of a strange blend of various aspects of THE MARCH VIOLETS, THE FUZZTONES, THE STROKES, THE TROGGS, FLAMIN’ GROOVIES, JEFF DAHL, BEAT HAPPENING, THE MURDER CITY DEVILS and THE MUMMIES, as well as a lot of elements of 60’s garage punk in general. My personal favorite track was “Good Advice,” an almost anthemic song that not only blends the above mentioned all at once, yet still maintains their own odd moribund sonic swagger throughout. It’s like a musical happy face with X’s for eyes.
Apparently THE GROWLERS have invented their own form of bizarre music festival, equally as theatrical as their own IMPOTENT SEA SNAKE-like live performances, called the “Beach Goth Party” *(of corpse, what else would it be called?). There have been three thus far, from 2012-2014, all held in late October. *(Most likely, there’ll be one this year as well, I would imagine). They are outrageous two day affairs that involve not just a wide array of diverse musical acts *(the enigmatic Chelsea Wolfe performed in 2014) but loads of crowd participation as well, including costume contests and intense intoxication.
“Beach Goth.” Interesting. Beyond all else, it’s really just good rock-n-roll, and that’s what counts most. The more I listen, the more I like. Pick up THE GROWLERS CHINESE FOUNTAIN, and drink deeply. But beware my caveat, and watch for the sharks. They are everywhere in these waters.
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email email@example.com