Review by Alejandra Elisabet
Cornwall natives residing in Brighton, Sussex, Gnarwolves are a punk rock band, who have certainly impressed me greatly. They’ve come a long way from their first EP Fun Club. Let’s recap, shall we? Five original songs, four covers. They screamed teenage angst in all the right ways. The EP’s album artwork spoke for its self – simply enjoyable.
Fast forward to two years of touring the UK and Europe, and in the summer of 2012 and ‘13 they released CRU and Funemployed. Both Eps did pretty damn well, pulling reviews from the likes of kerrang!, rocksound and many more. In early 2014 they constructed a compilation album of their first three EPs, titled Chronicles of Gnarnia. Very clever pun y’all did there.
Gnarwolves’ self-titled album has a very clean feel to it. They have upped their game on production, yet it still feels like you are in the 90’s, sitting in your room like an angst-ridden teenager with your overly quiet, like-minded friend, playing old records, and smoking out and having a grand ol’ time. It’s almost comforting to have a band be able to create something so nostalgic and do it oh so very well.
The track list on Gnarwolves is as follows:
“Prove it” – The intro of this song is very grungy and has a 90’s feel to it. “Prove It” has a very “fuck it and see what happens” vibe to it. In the last couple of seconds the song lyrics “life goes on and on and on” lead to a fade out giving it that relaxed vibe with a spunky edge.
“Boneyard” – The intro for this song reminded me a little of part of Pierce The Veil’s’ “Diamonds and Why Men Buy Them”. They also do a nice job on the instrumentals. Now, onto the actual song. The feel of it is almost cynical. “We make a toast to being lonely, cause it’s better than drinking alone and wash our hands of your cold company cause it’s what we really need,” are some of the most bitter lyrics I have ever come across, but it makes me sing along all the more. They’re the type of lyrics get me hooked on a song.
“Everything You Think You Know” – I’ve always been obsessed with upbeat songs that have slightly melancholy lyrics. It really makes you think about the creative process and true meaning behind the song. The other great thing about this song is that it’s very relaxing. “I’ve given myself to the sea.” Interesting choice of words, don’t you think?
“Bottle to Bottle” – One of my favorites of the whole album, I can relate whole-heartedly. You get fucked over, you’ll pick up a bottle.
“Smoking Kills” – Lyrically, I’m in love with this song. It makes me think when you stop being rational and logical, you become a slave to your own thought process. This is a pretty dangerous notion, if you think about it. You think you’ve completely fucked everything up and before you speak to someone and they put life back into perspective.
“Day Man” – It makes me think of growing up and moving on. “You will always be much better at saying goodbye.” I get a very raw and emotional vibe from this song. I can see it being a crowd pleaser, when played live.
“Hate Me” – Is the epitome of punk, Billy Idol circa ‘84. I can imagine this playing at a friend’s house and we’re all just dancing to it having a good time. “Hate me, I want you to hate me!” That can’t be done lads, your music is too damn addictive.
“Ebb” – This song is very nostalgic. They’ve made punk their own and when I hear these kinds of songs I think of many artists circa ‘74-‘82. It’s a very original sound they’ve created for themselves and to round off the song, a little fade to utter silence.
“Flow” – This song is very much about loving someone. You’ve ignored what everyone has told you and “Sometimes I need you more than others.” You’re infatuated by this person, enough to write a song about them. I recommend this song highly. It’s raw and passionate.
“Eat Dynamite, Kid” – Being the longest song on the album, “Eat Dynamite, Kid” packs a hell of a punch. This is all about being original. “If I fall who will catch me?” (1:04 – 1:09, 1:57 – 2:17) Grips you as a listener and makes you realize why you fell in love with these sleepy town natives in the first place. The abrasive hardcore vibe they have going on in this song works so well. Gnarwolves know how to write music, but I do have one critique, as every reviewer will; the mixing on certain songs for the vocals was not quite perfect. At times, you have to strain your ears to hear some of the melody and lyrics. Other than that, Gnarwolves is a great album.
Listen to “Bottle To Bottle”