The Growlers: Not. Psych! (FatCat Records)
Hot on the heels of their Hung At Heart LP, Costa Mesa’s dark beach brethren The Growlers release a superb EU only EP.
First off, I love the play on words of this EP’s title and its droll, tongue in cheek jab at everything being annoyingly labeled as psych lately. Of course it’s psych, but not the derivative, extreme reverb with obligatory sitar solo psych by numbers that is seemingly all over the place now.
Not. Psych! has undeniable character, and like many cuts from the Hung At Heart LP, it weaves together stories of well meaning yet impoverished rogues and their pursuit of the American dream.
The tales on the EP are somewhat old fashioned in their romantic ideals, yet charming nonetheless, harkening back to a bygone era where women looked to their men to provide for them (the “ring on her pretty little hand” from “Humdrum Blues”), while the protagonists of these songs are often flawed scoundrels and fools (“Tell It How It Is”, “Ol’ Ratface”) but gold hearted in their ambitions and their honesty. The tremulously gleaming, watery ripple of opener “Dogheart II” is narrated by a self-professed “dirty young man”, who dubiously praises the virtues of “little girls” in a warped yet somehow still liberating carpe diem message about enjoying the pleasures of the moment. It has been said the most depreciating asset we have is time, and maybe this is why The Growlers seem so committed to keeping constantly busy.
Hung At Heart was a revelation for The Growlers, showing the band with increasing confidence in their powers and infinitely more at ease with themselves. Not. Psych! continues in the same vein, and there’s just something really pleasing about the signature jaded drawl of Brooks Nielsen paired with the lonely, lazy waltz of The Growlers’ woozy surf/psych style.
This is music for all the perverts, tramps, vagabonds, ruffians and rats who ever dared to dream about a better life and something bigger than themselves. If that’s you, then strange dirty romance is surely afoot, because this EP is bound to be your loyal soul mate when times are tough.
Also look out for the American version of the EP, entitled Gilded Pleasures and featuring two additional songs (“Pretend I’m Gay” and “Ego of Man”).
All words by Carrie Quartly. You can read more of her writing on the site here.