For Fans Of
What a difference one year can make. When six lads from Ballarat calling themselves Howl burst onto the Australian music scene by taking out Triple J’s Unearthed High competition in 2009, they were wide-eyed, long-fringed, uniform wearing adolescents completing their VCE year. Their brand of noisy DIY rock was untamed and oozing attitude. Fast forward to the present day, and Howl have since released a successful debut EP and toured the country relentlessly. With this experience under their belt, it’s only fitting that their second EP, Brothers In Violence, reflects just how much the band has grown.
Kicking off with the seemingly ironically titled `It Was Never Fun‘, Howl’s second offering showcases the confidence and songwriting flair the boys have developed since becoming touring musicians. The band’s youthful snarl and raw energy are back in abundance but this time round their blend of garage rock and indie punk is wrapped up in tighter songwriting. After time spent writing, recording and touring, all six members have obviously developed a better grasp on what they each add to the band’s overall sound. While it sounded like Howl were experimenting and having a bit of fun on their debut EP (especially during songs like `Blackout‘ with its over the top keyboard solos and frantic vocals), Brothers In Violence presents a mature and cohesive mix of their distinctive keyboard playing, feisty guitars, thumping rhythm section and increasingly melodic singing.
Gritty bass rumbling below a haunting guitar riff allows `It Was Never Fun‘ to begin the EP at a cracking pace. The song hurtles along with vocals inclined towards melodic singing rather than teenage shouting before an interlude of pitter-pattering Foals-esque muted guitars and ambient crooning steps in. Like the other tracks on Brothers In Violence, the vocals are noticeably stronger and clearer than those on their debut EP (and perhaps influenced by working with producer Paul `Woody’ Annison– who has worked with Children Collide and Red Riders amongst others).
The band’s cheeky yet playful attitude radiates strongly during the title-track and `The Only Reason That You Came‘ (the latter featuring the lyrics, “I’ll fuck your sister and kill your brother’’ sung in a painfully high falsetto). They both have a solid rock n’ roll thump about them but the strongest cut of the bunch has to be the last track on the EP, `Cabin Fever‘. This song encapsulates the best elements of Howl: their raw energy, youthful carefree outlook, mish-mash of genres and infectious melody.
Brothers In Violence is the sound of Howl moving from shrieky, shouty high school brats to purveyors of innovative garage/punk rock. They may have appeared on the Australian music scene only a relatively short time ago, but the young members of Howl have since developed as musicians with Brothers In Violence proving they are much more than just Unearthed High winners- they are potential future leaders in the Australian alternative music pack.
1. It Was Never Fun
2. Brothers In Violence
3. The Only Reason You Came
4. Cabin Fever