Album review: Scowl – How Flowers Grow

Santa Cruz's Scowl look to turn that frown upside down with a fizzing injection of righteous, energetic punk…

Album review: Scowl – How Flowers Grow
Paul Travers

From Refused to Turnstile, there have always been bands looking to take hardcore punk to new and interesting places. Evolution has its place, but so does a more familiar power, and Scowl go right back to the source.

There’s a joy to be had in the rasping aggression and sheer rampant energy that crackles from their debut album. ‘Learn to shut your fucking mouth,’ suggests vocalist Kat Moss on the lurching opener Bloodhound and it rarely gets much less abrasive from there.

That’s not to say that Scowl are one-dimensional. How Flowers Grow rushes by in a blur, with 10 songs getting in and out in a little under 16 minutes. Blink and you’ll almost certainly miss something, but they manage to cram a lot of structure and memorable hooks into their compact explosions of barely contained chaos. Dead To Me is as vicious as you might expect, with locomotive drums and a metallic chug, while Pay Privilege Due dangles a hook in the midst of its sludgy noise. And then, halfway through, they throw in a total curveball in the shape of Seeds To Sow, which sees Kat singing over a poppy new wave groove, complete with peals of saxophone.

That unexpected break aside, the vocal delivery remains raw and rasping throughout. On the aptly titled Fuck Around, Drain’s Sammy Ciaramitaro joins the fun for 56 seconds of chaos featuring some almost comic guitar interjections, while the closer and title-track finally breaks the two-minute mark with a comparatively epic ebb and flow.

How Flowers Grow is a dizzying, breathless howl of a debut and Scowl look set to make a big noise in the hardcore scene - and possibly beyond.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Chubby And The Gang, Black Flag, Amyl And The Sniffers

How Flowers Grow is out now via Flatspot.

READ THIS: Amyl & The Sniffers: The untamed duality of Australia’s weirdo punk misfits

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