The beach is a hard setting to capture, and even harder to replicate with picture-perfect motions, the feelings of the sand that fills between your feet, the sun that beats down with a warm, gentle glow; the sound of the waves that crash, and the beauty that is Gilded Pleasures by The Growlers.
The tapped and strummed guitar that opens the stage for The Growlers is incredibly bright, shining heavily over the dreaming vacation-esque production of gentle bursts that flood into the frame. It is a slow, but consistent drive through Gilded Pleasures, it takes the time to enjoy the scenery, transcending over “Dogheart II”, a gracious and care-free jam that features lines that can border well with the glorified production, explaining, “Her skin turns into leather, hearts begin to callous, nothing in this world lasts forever”. It is a sullen story that floats above the clouded instrumentation, but has a gleam behind it that relates well to the overarching sound of Gilded Pleasures. The transition that moves into one of the following tracks, “Tell It How It Is” creates a lustrous segue into the more upbeat styling of The Growlers where the chords of the strings from Matt Taylor, Kyle Straka, and Anthony Braun-Perry can become a flowing movement that blankets the production. The percussion from Scott Montoya then starts to groove in a similar fashion as the hi-hats that are actually quite subtle for the track, taking a back-seat to the vocals from Brooks Nielsen.
The Growlers then tap into the desert folk of “Ol’ Rat Face” where a large portion of the track hangs in the balance of a glimmering, almost moonlit production that can capture this cascading lyrical display of, “He never had a decent chance, thieving like its his birth right. Here comes Ol’ Rat Face, drunk again and shedding lies”. The Growlers shine a strange, twisted light on the sound that is displayed throughout Gilded Pleasures as every track feels as though a ray of sunshine and it is surrounded by a boundary of sound that is stretched beyond belief in the desert heat that can almost be felt through their music. It is on the near final-moments of Gilded Pleasures where “Ego Of Man” comes sliding into frame and takes a similar approach from the other tracks that came previously, but uses more effects on the guitars that shift the sound into an atmospheric crawl.
The sudden crashes of noise that create the almost-winded production is a great last push toward the end that can shine one more time on “Ego Of Man”. Almost as quickly as the track jumps into the sudden incline of sound, there is a jump off of the deep end that constricts around the usual loose production. It is a style switch up in sound that is a break from the mostly straight forward tracks on Gilded Pleasures and makes for a stand-out cut.
While still gorgeous, The Growlers keep the twenty-eight-minute release a short, and to-the-point lane of movements that resonates well within their discography. As they would move on to do sold-out tours around the world, The Growlers keep a style about themselves. They are eased to move at moments, but Gilded Pleasures is a wonderful example of mesmerizing beauty.