For Howler’s sophomore release, the young whippersnappers from Minneapolis haven’t fallen into the trap of enlisting a super producer and slathering the whole shebang in strings resulting in an overblown, bloated affair. ‘World Of Joy’ is the antithesis of this, it’s the sound of four dudes ripping through ten super charged songs that are drenched in ramshackle punk and rock ‘n’ roll’s looser more shambolic tendencies.
Band lynchpin, Jordan Goldsmith remarked that the band’s second LP is “supposed to be almost like a jukebox at some sloppy bar in Minneapolis playing things like Thin Lizzy, The Replacements, The Modern Lovers, Kiss, The Smiths, The Stooges and other randomly assorted bands. It’s a tribute to our love of rock ‘n’ roll and to the lineage of that genre we so admire” With such a statement you’d expect ‘World Of Joy’ to be a pastiche of the aforementioned forbearers Howler’s mouth piece has just reeled off but any whiffs of parody are minimal throughout the record’s lifespan. The homage Goldsmith speaks about can be felt in the album’s energy and vigour displayed by the collective in tracks like ‘Yacht Boys’ that hurtles along with untamed abandon. Equally, ‘Don’t Wanna’ rattles with a carefree garage-rock shtick and although lyrically, it may pang with cliché, Goldsmith’s youthful delivery is infectious, it’s one long middle finger to expectation “you don’t have be anyone if you don’t want to /you don’t have to get a job if you don’t want to” This may ring out like a scrawled pencil case statement but ultimately, wouldn’t we all not want to work and doing all that boring shit if we didn’t have to?
Again, it’s ‘World Of Joy’s blistering appeal that holds your attention, ‘Drip’ is an out of control romp through punk ‘n’ roll’s more playful side that has guitars screeching like police sirens. Pace-wise, the album’s title track may saunter slightly but the fuzzed up bass line positions the song somewhere in the realms of The Strokes’ ‘Reptilia’ and a more restrained ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ by Muse making for a ditty of pure static.
The record only sags slightly with ‘Here’s The Itch That Creeps Through My Skull’s timid jingle-jangles, when compared to the rest of ‘World Of Joy’ this breezy number’s impact is diluted by its lack of urgency. Plus album closer, ‘Aphorismic Wasteland Blues’ signs off with a track that’s pleasant but not the chaotic pool cue to the head you’d want from an album inspired by a fictitious jukebox in a dive bar. Nevertheless, the remaining slabs of exuberant rock ‘n’ roll on Howler’s follow up to debut LP ‘America Give Up’ makes up for the odd lull.
So, why not pull up a bar stool, grab yourself a beer and get yourself acquainted with ‘World Of Joy’s grubby ways.
Word and Thoughts of Adam Williams