Album Review: Gnarwolves - 'Adolescence'

20 November 2015 | 4:39 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A concise little taster from the best band on Pure Noise.

To what extent does messy become so organised that you can describe it as well-crafted? What’s the line between disaster and organised chaos? I’m afraid we can’t tell you, but Gnarwolves can sure as hell show you. Their (incredibly short) EP ‘Adolescence’  is a complex mix of speed and calm, as well as a musical communication of the angst you feel when someone political lies on telly and the hollowness you feel when your best friend leaves your state.

It kicks off with ‘The Waiting Line’, which faces up to punk conventions: fast guitars, fast drums, etc, etc. But the frenetic guitar tones it implements, in conjunction with the intensity of its strained, uncertain vocals bring it above what the genre demands. The tension that underpins ‘Daydreamer’, in its stumbling 1-2-I-hate-you attitude, also raises the EP above what's being put out by Gnarwolves' peers. It harks back to a kind of non-party, political era of punk, like a continuous push and pull between big hells – like that of our current political climate – and little hells, like how ‘nowhere feels like home’.

Blondie’ is eerily acoustic, but it provides a welcome contrast to the rest of the EP; there’s a haunting space in this song, a dark rawness that overshadows it. It's authentically emotional, and it provides a nifty lead-in to ‘Bad Dreams’, as the vocals get grittier and the tempos care less about consistency.

This EP is true: to the past of punk that created a generation of critical thinkers and to Gnarwolves’ current audience of music fans who just want to hear something true in a world where their friends are lying about what they’re doing on social media and the government’s lying about the bombs they’re dropping.  It’s a fresh issue that trumps this band’s past releases, even if it is only a short one. PS: It is now totally acceptable to kick out that kid in The Story So Far shirt who keeps trying to tell you that Gnarwolves are pop punk.

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1. The Waiting Line

2. Daydreamer

3. Blondie

4. Bad Dreams