The Growlers' "Natural Affair" Album Review

The Growlers are an amazing band from Dana Point, California, who have been creating music since 2006. They have a unique sound that is a blend of surf rock, indie rock, and some aspects of pop that, when combined, fall under the umbrella term of “beach goth.” Their music definitely fits the surf and skate culture that engulfs most of Southern California. The band has released six studio albums in addition to numerous EPs and singles. Their newest album, Natural Affair, was released on October 25th, 2019, and reassures the public that they are still evolving from the acoustic surf rock sounds they started with. 

Their new album fuses their signature sound with a little 80s inspired rock and some aspects of disco pop which are prevalent in songs like “Social Man” and “Shadow Woman”. These two songs definitely venture into the pop genre more than The Growlers ever have, but Brooks Neilson’s voice as the lead singer helps the songs keep the classic Growlers sound. 

Looking at the fifth song of the album, “Foghorn Town”, you can hear the certain Growlers sound that every die-hard fan always looks for. However, it’s a more developed sound and you can really hear the up-beat and funky changes the band has made over the years. The second single of the album, “Long Hot Night (Halfway to Certain)”, differs from the fifth song of the album and is on the laid-back side of the collection. It blends well with the rest of the songs and allows the listener to have a calm moment while listening through the album. 

Another stand-out song is “Pulp of Youth”, which holds a deeper meaning in relation to the development of the band as a whole. The song talks about childhood and the band members’ youth in comparison to the lives they live now. It comments on how the group has really grown and changed since the beginning of their careers. The lead singer has kids now and the group has more responsibilities than they ever did. They have had thirteen years to develop and they just aren’t the same as they were when they wrote songs like “Beach Rats”, which talks about young recklessness. 

Although I didn’t touch on all the songs in the album, it doesn’t mean that each song isn’t a work of art. Every song in the album has a unique sound and the combination of all the pieces together creates an amazing album. Natural Affair really follows the development we’ve seen the band go through in the past two albums while maintaining the classic, feel-good sound The Growlers constantly have. The album is, in my opinion, one of their better albums and really shows the love the band still has for their music after all these years.

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