All is Well Until the Vocals Come In…
Howler is a Minneapolis based band and their newest release, World of Joy, is their second album. For the most part, the album is comprised of musically interesting sounds and rhythms that are pleasing to the ear. The band seems to be very playful with their sound and as a result the musical aspect of the album is fun and pop punky, such as “Al’s Corral.”
The problem however, lies with their vocalist. Whenever he enters the song, the urge to turn the album off surges through every fiber of your being. It’s not that the lyrics are terrible, but rather that his tone is just off. In comparison to the head-bopping and pleasurable sounds of the instrumental section, the vocals leave you feeling severely annoyed. The one exception is “Aphorismic Wasteland” which hollows out the vocals and tones down the punk aspect to give the track a retro-type sound, making it a pretty cool listen.
The band’s Facebook page self-describes the group as “Surf/Thrash/Indie,” and while the Indie and Surf make sense, the Thrash part does not. There is no desire to mosh, nor is there a sense of anger and frustration that goes hand in hand with the thrash genre. Instead the best way to describe tracks like “Drip” is an annoying punk version of something the The Beach Boys would have come up with. Howler, however, is much more frustrating pop punk than anything else, with high distortion levels and head-banging sounds (though whether that’s the beat or the result of simple annoyance, I’m not entirely sure). Overall, if you enjoy an overly distorted sound than you may really enjoy this album, but if you’re looking for a nice, musically intricate album, then World of Joy isn’t it.