Howler - America Give Up
Seems to me that the ongoing 'Is guitar music dead?' debate is missing the point somewhat. Better, methinks, to ask which of the current crop are likely to inspire listeners to carve their name into the school desk - or arm - and not regret it come Christmas. Rather than write off a whole genre, or indeed genres, better to just admit that while things are generally solid enough, there's not much in the way of genuine greatness. It's all about the reformations this year, right?
Which brings us to Howler, Rough Trade's latest signings and the torchbearers for (another) new wave of spunky American indie acts, hell bent on saving us from too much of that goddamn synth-y stuff. Saviours of rock 'n' roll they are not, but America Give Up is a heap of fun from start to finish - and should be enough to secure them the honour of becoming Vaccines' fans' second favourite band. It's a tried and tested formula: bit of surf-pop, a couple of Strokes-y numbers, nods to the J&MC and even a sense of just-about-to-fall-apart Libertines-ism, tempered only by the fleeting thought that frontman Jordan Gatesmith occasionally sounds like a more mannered Johnny Borrell. There are no real highlights: it just demands to be played in a one-er, loudly. And maybe even spun once again.
Great, but not great - if you follow.