If anyone today could be described as winning the DIY band game with a through and through punk attitude, it would be Gnarwolves. Having become firm favourites with the punk crowd, and opening the Reading & Leeds Main Stages in 2014 off the back of their three EPs and self-titled debut album, it’s safe to say they’ve done alright for themselves.
And clocking in at just over eight and a half minutes long, new EP Adolescence keeps the trio’s flame burning. Vocalist Thom Weeks’ raspy, undoubtedly British vocals continue to be intriguing, delivering emotional lyrics like “nowhere feels like home” with a resentful edge, which is unique. In fact, a lot of the stuff on here is not something you’d hear every day, such as Bad Dreams‘ strange chord progressions or The Waiting Line‘s almost breakdown-like final few seconds. Acoustic track Blondie is more subdued than the rest of Adolescence in almost every way, and although Weeks’ vocals don’t fit as well with this side of things, the “got me hanging on the telephone” refrain is intelligent and endearing, only adding to any positives.
The length of this EP itself is somewhat of a hindrance, though. With no song near three minutes long, it all feels like a bit of a whirlwind. Daydreamer and Bad Dreams both go from zero to sixty and back again very abruptly, and no song really seems as though it’s finished apart from perhaps Blondie, which still feels like an interlude. It’s arguably all a bit too manic to really take in properly.
But after a few listens the craft of the tracks that make up Adolescence becomes a bit clearer. There isn’t really one here. Adolescence is just the product of three guys writing punk songs for the love of it, and that’s what shines through most here. And that’s exactly why Gnarwolves have more punk spirit than any other modern band out there.
For fans of: Make Do And Mend, Joyce Manor, Crucial Dudes
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Adolescence’ by Gnarwolves is out now on Tangled Talk / Big Scary Monsters.