Record review: The Growl – What Would Christ Do? (2013, LP)

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While they may not be a household name by any stretch of the imagination, Fremantle six-piece The Growl have been building quite a following and reputation for themselves with tours across Australia and the United States supporting psych-rock brothers-in-arms Tame Impala. Many Australian fans will have first come into contact with the band on that tour, and subsequently noticed connections with Pond (in which singer Cameron Avery is the drummer) and The Chemist (also featuring keys player James Ireland). With this much musical foundation, things can only go right… right?

Upon listening to What Would Christ Do?, the first things you will notice about The Growl (apart from the brilliantly ballsy album title) are Avery’s gravelly growl of a singing voice, the bizarre and epic mishmash of junkyard sci-fi rock sounds, and the unholy monster of a noise the band’s dual drummers put out. Combine these elements with the basis of an extremely strong blues-rock/garage outfit seemingly battering the life out of any piece of equipment they find lying around, wandering soulful vocals and nightmarish lyrics, and you get What Would Christ Do?

An early album highlight is second track and single ‘Cleaver Lever’. Pounding drums and bass provide a solid backbone to Avery’s wolfish howl and dark, menacing lyrics about a “bullet in the chamber of my gun.” The excellent ‘Liarbird’ is a much more soulful affair, without losing any of the power present in other tracks, while their cover of traditional gospel song ‘John The Revelator’ is a potent blast of dirty blues and heavy riffs in suitably grand fashion.

‘Niywtlwoe’ (standing for ‘not if you were the last woman on earth’) is a nightmarish squall of science-fiction noise that clatters and churns and could well be the soundtrack to some twisted robot apocalypse or dark futuristic fantasy.

It’s not a stretch to say that What Would Christ Do? is every bit as good as Tame Impala’s last record, and the brash, unique style is something to be celebrated. To top it off, The Growl are also a damn fine live band. What would Christ do? Buy a copy.

WHAT WOULD CHRIST DO? IS OUT NOW VIA MGM.

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