The Howls – Rocky Ground The Howls – Rocky Ground

Being born out of San Diego makes it no wonder The Howls new album, Rocky Ground, tempts us to put up our feet and stare off into the warming sun. It’s perfect for the speedy spring popping up outside my third story window. I’m ready to gather up my makeshift picnic basket – also known as my purse – and scurry off to a patch of grass somewhere with The Howls in my ear and a classy can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Maybe I’ll get fancy and drink it out of a paper bag so I can bust out in a saunter down the street and feel the Rocky Ground.

First stop, the “Rio Grande”. John Cooper’s calming and resonating voice strengthens the words, “All this trouble will soon be gone, all this trouble is passing on,” bringing me a peace of mind. Bob Dylan or Tom Petty come forward in my head as the guitar discharges and electrifies the air in a softening demeanor. As the album progresses, I find myself wishing I were right there in San Diego watching them control the crowd with the waver of the tremolo in “Weight” and “Rocky Ground”. Drummer, David Gargula, patters the drum and tambourine in such a way that I’m lured away from the city straight onto a cozy beachfront. “Vacation” and “Atlantic” make my limbs fall lazy with only enough tension left to grasp a beer and tap a toe. My favorite track on the album, “All,” is so compelling my heart is found seeping. At points in the song, John Cooper sings up in the stratosphere of his head voice sounding more like someone out of a Bon Iver or an As Tall As Lions album. They simply pour out their souls and dip us in a vat of truly great fucking sound.

“Revival” gets our juices going again as it seems to scream, “WAKE UP!” with the synthesized piano and a pleasant yet pounding drum. The placement of “Revival” after “All” brings a great boost of energy to the album at just the right moment. It would be the ideal time to bring out those quirky drunken dance moves you know you’ve been containing. “Crime” is right there next to “Revival,” asking us to just dance already. And so I do. Finally in “Coming Around,” Cooper finishes with his raspy and addictive vocals singing, “I’ll be coming around.” All I can say is, I certainly hope they’ll be coming around to New York City sooner than later. But sticking to their starting grounds, The Howls will be uncorking Rocky Ground in Los Angeles on February 24th and Solana Beach on March 8th.


1. Rio Grande
2. Weight
3. Vacation
4. Rocky Ground
5. All
6. Revival
7. Atlantic
8. Crime
9. Oh Sweet Heaven
10. Come Around

The Howls - Rocky Ground, reviewed by Alana Paige on 2012-02-28T04:20:13-08:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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