Updated: Apr 27
In 2016, The Growlers released their fifth studio album, City Club which found itself met with mixed reviews. However, as we look back, the album seems to have held up surprisingly well. While it may not be their most iconic work for some fans, it showcases a level of growth and maturity that is often overlooked.
The record features standout tracks such as When You Were Made, a soulful and melancholic ballad with a beautiful piano accompaniment contrasting well with tracks like Dope on A Rope, or The Daisy Chain. Dope on a Rope finds itself as a particular highlight, with its top-notch bassline, memorable chorus and infectious guitar hook.
Another standout tracks on the LP is I'll Be Around, a soulful and groovy tune showcasing the band's versatility. With its infectious bassline, catchy chorus, and smooth saxophone solos, it's hard not to tap your foot or get up and start dancing. This song is a great example of how The Growlers can seamlessly blend different genres and create something that's uniquely their own, but still has that iconic, Growlers retro feel.
Despite being labeled as a departure from their previous surf rock sound, City Club still maintains the distinctive Growlers' style. Their signature nonchalance and swagger are instantly recognizable, making this release feel like a natural progression rather than a complete reinvention. That being said, some of the critiques made are not unfounded. The production can sometimes feel a bit overproduced and polished, which may be off-putting to fans of their earlier work. Additionally, some of the tracks may feel a bit formulaic and repetitive but at the same time, the formula the band was working with was incredibly infectious.
City Club has become another timeless record from The Growlers that certain listeners (myself included) would peg as their favorite. It may not have been unanimously praised upon release, but as time has passed, it has proven to be a valuable addition to their discography. At the end of the day, City Club showcases The Growlers' ability to evolve their sound while staying true to their roots, and serves as a testament to their staying power as a band.