By: Stuart Blake Hayden
Feb 5th, 2013
In its salt-water brine, a remote sandy beach unintentionally preserves the psychedelic-surf-freak-folk ephemera that litter it. The weathered and worn sandy trinkets and curios become a transient beachcomber’s unassuming found object assemblage, revealing an entrancing, albeit addictive romance. For their fifth full-length album, The Growlers ingest a psychedelic love blotter. Hung at Heart explores the perception altering effects of love and the consequences of interpersonal, behavioral, or physical intoxication. As the lyrics testify, such a “cure for loneliness,” subsists in a state of extraordinary consciousness; “It's almost hard to recognize myself. Slowly I've changed, turned into someone else. I find myself doing things I'd never do, dreaming of her the whole day through… Something strange just takes over you.”
Such medication, however, eventually triggers symptoms of addiction. The song “Living in a Memory,” in particular, identifies cravings and compulsion for a past love/lover; “Your face is clogging up my dream, smiling so god damn tenderly. But, I know that your heart is artificially sweet, and still I can’t pull you out of me.” Despite recognizing the urge, the addict struggles to maintain sobriety; “Hell I know this ain’t no good for me. There ain’t no grown man that should be living in a memory. Memories of making love stronger than drugs.” Though transcendently dreamy and sunbaked in distortion, the enchanting sound never drifts too from wholesome American surf-rock. The Growlers simultaneously have their “heads on [their] shoulders,” and yet “still in the clouds.” Akin to a Beach Party film starring Ken Kesey, Hung at Heart elicits “dreams of red, white and blue…and every color too…Not square, not hippy, and not like you, but
American kids with dreams.” If achieving no other national notoriety, the album at least warrants the start of a 60’s style dance craze, a wild and entrancing Watusi in the sand.
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