The Growlers, “Chinese Fountain”
When The Growlers’ home studio burnt to the ground in a freak fireworks accident, it was unclear what the band would make of the ashes. Somewhere amidst that immense loss, the band’s newfound nomadic lifestyle would ultimately serve as the overarching theme for Chinese Fountain. The Southern California quintet’s fifth album acts as a doorway into the more private personalities of the band, with Brooks Nielsen’s uninhibited lyricism an uneven experiment in baring his emotions. While the self-dubbed “beach goths” have polished up their sound, they’ve brushed off some of their endearing dirt. The group’s signature honky-tonk quirks are pushed from background blips to the nuclear setting of Chinese Fountain. They haven’t lost that intoxicated swagger or those woozy riffs, but they’ve certainly found a new focus after having to rebuild from the wreckage. There you are, Growlers, rising from those ashes like a fucking phoenix.