In 1961 Decca Records told the Beatles that guitar groups were on their way out. With only one genuine honest to goodness guitar band making it to the BBC's influential Sound of 2012 final 15 long list it would appear that they were a mere 50 years out. If the BBC are to be believed all that's left to do is order the coffin, draft the obituary for the Times and dust down the black suit and tie. But hold on a moment since when has the BBC ever been the arbiter of taste? Aren't they the establishment we're all supposed to be challenging and isn't the guitar the ultimate anti establishment weapon of choice for young rebels through the musical ages? It's time for the fight back to begin.
Minneapolis four piece Howler could be the band to lead the insurgency and topple the self satisfied enemies of the guitar band. Their debut album America Give Up sounds like it's been specifically designed to call the BBC's bluff and snatch the zeitgeist back from the potty mouthed rappers and beanie hatted, haircut challenged dub step jockeys. Hell with lines like “I wanna get dressed, make a scene” and “I wanna girl and a new car/I need a drink and a guitar” they've even written the manifesto for the guitar band counter revolution.
With a cover that looks like a Lucky Strike cigarette packet, it's fitting that America Give Up is loaded with tracks as addictive as nicotine. None more so than the explosive, and perhaps controversially titled, 'Beach Sluts' which sounds like The Strokes after a red bull overdose and makes you glad to be alive. It's a two fingered salute to the BBC and others gleefully dancing on rock 'n rolls grave.
On The fuzzy Strokes meets the Vaccines 'Wailing (Making Out)' Jordan sounds like Julian Casablancas gargling barbed wire. It's 2012's 'Post Break Up Sex' and is destined to own this year's festivals. The fuzzy slowie 'Too Much Blood' sounds like Jordan's been mainlining the Jesus & Mary Chain's back catalogue and 'Told You Once' is a two and a half minute pop gem culminating in the withering put down "I wish there was something I could do ‘cause I hate myself more than I hate you." Morrissey would kill for a line as good as that.
America Give Up is a bona fide rock 'n' roll album with more energy than a Duracell bunny with ADHD. Is it the album that will single-handedly resurrect guitar music from it's BBC declared grave? Maybe. Is it the first truly great rock 'n' roll album of 2012? An unqualified yes.