Published Mar 05, 2009Upon first hearing the Howlies' new full-length, Trippin' With the Howlies (out now on Over/Under Records), my first reaction was to talk to the album itself, to which I asked, "Where the hell have you been?" While I never find myself short of new music, the Howlies made me realize that one thing missing in my "current listening" is a fun rock album with such carefree poise and an unabashed attitude towards channelling influences: some Chuck Berry riffing here, some Modern Lovers waggishness there, Frankie Valli's harmonies everywhere, and all of this with a salute to Todd Rundgren's studio wizardry. Or how about the one and only Kim Fowley, who actually produced Trippin' With the Howlies! Shit, if this was 1979 all over again they'd have the Cars opening arena tours for them.
"Angeline" isn't weighed down with the retroisms I'm probably cursing them with by the aforementioned associations. A marching band rhythm (think Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere") and some breezy lead guitar stroking set up the romantic run-through of lady names that's as affable and ducky as anything from Vampire Weekend's hallowed debut. Of course, without the obvious impending backlash.
P.S. A "howly" or "howlie" is Hawaiian slang for "tourist."