Review: ‘America Give Up’

As published here:

Originally written: 22/01/2012

Have you heard? On January 16th the much-hyped band Howler released their debut album, ‘America Give Up’. The Minneapolis five-piece are hotly tipped to rocket to fame in 2012. Already, they’ve had dates supporting The Vaccines and next month they head over to the UK for their own headline tour. They made it to number 5 on the NME’s Top 20 shortlist of ‘New Bands You Must Hear’. It’s fair to say the music world is pretty buzzed about these guys. But do they make the grade? I listened to find out.

Opening song ‘Beach Sluts’ encapsulates their surf-rock vibe (and not just from the title). The rest of the album also delivers Howler’s summery escapist feel. No doubt they’ll be the soundtrack to the summer ahead. The Julian Casablancas-style vocals mingle with Beach Boys-esque harmonies; their inspiration seems to come from several musical styles and eras. Comparisons aside, the music has a hedonistic, carefree feel about it.

The ‘tales of booze and girls’ theme is always present, but in a different way than usual. Relatable stories of failed relationships and self-esteem issues unfold alongside rock-out riffs and rhythms to give a mix that is at times spacey and flowing, at other times punch-the-air anthemic. The music and its subject matter perfectly fit the summer mood, thoughts of which will surely drag us through the dark winter days and on to the beaches come May. The only thing I found is that, despite several listens, I’m still struggling to tell the songs apart. This becomes something of a problem when they get stuck in your head, as they undoubtedly will be. All in all, though, ‘America Give Up’ is an excellent debut, and a great album to kick off the year. Consider the grade officially made. Howler – welcome to the big leagues.

If you’re still not convinced, listen for yourself. They’re streaming the album at, where you can also download their song ‘Back of Your Neck’ for free.

Top picks: Beach Sluts, This One’s Different, Told You Once, Pythagorean Fearem.

You’ll like if you like: The Gaslight Anthem, The Strokes, The Vaccines, old-school rock ‘n’ roll, fun.


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