YOWL, THE: Rock-n-Roll, Babies!:LP

Nov 15, 2022

There are a lot of ways that tossing punk and ’70s rock (or neo-’70s rock at least) into the same meat grinder can befoul the resulting sausage, and I trust you’ve sampled enough befouled sausage to not require further examples. The Yowl manage to sidestep such putridity with good—sometimes great—songwriting, solid chops (whatever the fuck a “chop” is. I think it’s anything that sounds like maybe Ace Frehley did it), full-blast garagey-ness, and enough elements of surprise that they always remain a few steps ahead of listener expectations. My research indicates that guitarist Eli Southard used to be in Roky Erikson’s backing band, so there’s your bona fides, kids. I think I can reasonably claim that The Yowl sound a bit like ’90s Michiganders The Go—albeit a bit less tuneful, unique, and fuzzed-out, though brasher and more direct—and I dig the hell out of that first Go album so I wouldn’t make that comparison lightly. And, while “I wanna know you like a whip knows a slave” is probably about as ’70s S&M edgelord sleazy as lyrics need to get around here, it gets nicely counterbalanced by songs like “Money, Power, War!” and “Vacation” (“Vacation / I need a vacation / I wanna get away from / this wasted nation”) so no need for anyone to get their latex butt-thong in a bundle. Angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo! Wait, that’s Howl, not Yowl. Mea culpa. BEST SONG: “Looks and Personality.” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Killed the Sun.” I mean, what does one do for an encore? Snort the moon? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Get Off” features a guest appearance by the late great Sylvain Sylvain.–Rev. Nørb (Sioux)

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