The Growlers: Hung At Heart – album reviewThe Growlers – Hung At Heart (Burger Records, Everloving, FatCat Records)
Out Now (LP available from 8th April)

FatCat’s long-awaited UK and European release of the 3rd official album by Costa Mesa five-piece The Growlers is a triumphant revelation to be celebrated, a darkly romantic folk/surf/psych odyssey featuring previously well-loved rough cuts from their 2012 Beach Goth demos cassette honed to perfection.

I knew instantly on first listen that Hung At Heart was a breakthrough for the band – a ship in a bottle that, on first inspection, didn’t seem likely to fit together, but when lingered on, revealed the remarkably skillful way the sails attached to the hull with beautifully delicate strings and hinges…

The Growlers deftly balance a great amalgamation of styles with a rich warmth and harmonious precision, without adding unnecessary weight or heavy handedness, and the result is a spectacular album of rare poignancy showcasing their stellar song craft.
For this reason I am glad they ultimately turned down the assistance of The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach in the studio and opted to self-produce.

Singer Brooks Nielsen’s reverb-filtered, world-weary and whiskey soaked drawl give the songs a haunting, ageless nostalgia; the guitars have the glassy swagger of a 1960’s teen beach party flick, the oscillating organ runs lend an eerie carnival atmosphere (most notably on “Salt on a Slug” and “It’s No Use”), and Scott Montoya’s drums are a bizarre and ghostly African skiffle that somehow brilliantly unite the whole elaborate sound together.


Hung At Heart appeals to the loner in me and feels like a road trip soundtrack for a restless romantic drifter, informed by the wisdom of experience and personal hardship.
There’s a bittersweet melancholia to it’s many tales of love gone awry – opener “Someday” is a wistful, swoony jangle about the push and pull of financial woes which spoil relationships (“Well, things ain’t so cool right now/Well, I promise they’ll get better”). “Naked Kids” is a plea for reconciliation and forgiveness, and in “Burden of the Captain”, Nielsen sorrowfully reflects, “How did it turn into more drinking, sinking, when all that I ever wanted was less thinking, all that I ever wanted was left stinking?”

This is why I don’t really get The Beach Boys references that have been excitedly tossed around in the press for the album or the claims that it is a ‘bright’ and ‘laid back’ listen, apart from the way Hung At Heart seems almost overstuffed with supremely memorable songs and hooky melodies. To me, Hung At Heart sounds most similar in spirit to fellow Costa Mesans The Abigails (fronted by ex-Growler Warren Thomas), perhaps with shades of Tijuana Panthers and Black Lips.

It’s almost impossible to pick standalone favourites from an album of such impressive consistency, but recommended tracks include “One Million Lovers”, which is perhaps Hung At Heart’s strongest moment, with it’s fluttery organ intro, infectiously bouncy bassline, and rubbery, resonant guitar tone, “Pet Shop Eyes”, which has a vintage, almost kitschy 1960’s feel updated with warbly synths and a dusty, loping guitar riff, and “Living In a Memory”, a gloomy, acoustic-based waltz about lost love (“Your face is clogging up my dreams/Smiling so god damned tenderly”).

While there’s no danger of The Growlers taking themselves too seriously (go see them and pick up some ‘I’m Swervin’ Cuz I’m Pervin’!’ bumper stickers or – my personal favourite – a huge four inch ‘I Hate Everybody’ button to decorate your jacket), they have proved themselves a surprisingly accomplished band among the current crop of psych/surf acts worth keeping a very attentive eye on.

Follow The Growlers on Facebook and Twitter, or visit the official band page here.

All words by Carrie Quartly, you can read more of her writing on the site here.


Previous articleRolling Stones to play Glastonbury- the rumour that just won’t go away
Next articleThe Villagers Conor O’Brien Talks To Louder Than War’s Dermot Campbell
Lifelong music fan and avid gig-goer with bases in South East England and New York City. Spent formative years reared on punk, which taught me to never adopt a uniform (unless it looked really good with hand made badges and a stencil paint job on it). Love garage rock, bubblegum pop and psych, basically anything with heart that makes me want to sway and groove. Follow me on Twitter @Carrie_Quartly if you eat/sleep/breathe music and don't mind being grossed out occasionally.


  1. Do think people couldn’t give up the right for pursuit of fashion. People can really buy the different grade Oakley sunglasses from the different quality of personal life. If you are the seller of them, I think you are a sharp-sighted person. It is a really big actual fact that cheap Oakley sunglasses make world’s big fashion. oakley holbrook sunglasses

  2. Of course, the state of the art of comic based movies has changed a lot since ‘Swamp Thing’ last aired in 1992. Recently Joel Silver gathered up the film rights and commissioned Len Wein to write the screenplay for an all new movie. We asked Durock if he’d get back in the suit for another swim in the swamp. oakley polarized radar range sunglasses polished black

  3. The point of buying a fake is to generate a fashion statement while as well not spending so much because of it. Which is why the cheap poor cheap oakleys are completely defeated in their purpose. If its fakes you want to buy, make sure that at the least they look real. When it states that these are fake Oakley solar shades, you know not should be expected the same quality inside lenses and the eyeglasses. They look like genuine and everyone will believe that you paid the high price charged for Oakley sunshine glasses. You can impress your friends by having 2-3 different pairs of these replica Oakley sunglasses, but don’t get too caught up with buying. Oakley Sunglasses 012

  4. Carmen Electra has been spotted in the streets of Los Angeles sporting her elegant fake Oakley sunglasses the Oakley 5139s. These beautiful glasses are simple black fare with unmistakable Oakley flare. Carmen is a notorious Oakley addict, and I would be too if they made me look that good! I got a pair of perfect replica sunglasses, yet women don seem to look at me the way men look at Carmen Electra. I guess life not fair. oakley straight jacket sunglasses polished black


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here