Album Review: "Natural Affair" by The Growlers

The Growlers show that their sound is maturing as they do in their latest album "Natural Affair."

"Natural Affair" is the sixth studio album from The Growlers and it is a reminder that this band is not quite yet done evolving their sound. The Growlers, led by singer Brooks Nielson and guitarist Matt Taylor, originate from Dana Point, California. Their sound is unique - think surf rock meets sleazy late-night dive bar cover band. I say this with the utmost admiration and awe as this band amazes me with every direction they embark on. In recent years, The Growlers have grown their fanbase and have created their sound along the way. The band first caught my attention when they enlisted producer Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes) on their 2016 album, "City Club." Casablancas brought in his unique flair to the band’s already dynamic sound. The result was a fusion of Casablancas’ New York grit with The Growlers’ established California underground sound.

As three years have passed since the release of "City Club" and with the recent release of their newest album, "Natural Affair," the band has moved into a stride of their own. "Natural Affair" brings fans a well-developed and strangely reminiscent album from The Growlers. This album shows that the band has finely tuned their sound and production, but has still left the DIY feel for fans who have been around from the beginning.

Nielson’s voice echoes his lyrics perfectly, bringing his catchy choruses to life with the rasp needed to convey the band’s dysfunctional image. There are songs on this album that could cause someone to want to strip themselves of their 9-5-day job and become dedicated to writing songs about the pains of growing up (check out of 'Try Hard Fool' and 'Pulp of Youth.') There also are songs on this album that make me want to grow my hair out, don a pair of beat-up white sneakers, pick up a guitar and move to the coast with my closest friends while writing self-reflection induced music. (such as 'Coinstar' and 'Stupid Things.')

I frankly have a soft spot for The Growlers, they inspire something in me as most beach goth bands do. I have allegiance to this brand of music and I am devoted to its evolution. I truly look forward to what else The Growlers will become and how their sound will develop with time. Like most albums, there are songs that flop or take a backseat to the real winners on the album. I will let you figure those songs out for yourself as everyone has their preference. So, devote 41 minutes of your day to listen to this album, grab some good headphones, and let The Growlers put you in a trance.

8.7/10

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