Written by: PP on 12/11/2014 23:27:02

After releasing a string of EPs of varying quality, then pasting them all together on one compilation called "The Chronicles Of Gnarnia" earlier this year, Gnarwolves from UK have finally readied their self-titled debut album for public release. Where their early tracks were occasionally lo-fi in production and heavily rooted in punk rock despite their melodic undertones and emotional charge, the band go all in on early Polar Bear Club style gruff, gravelly melodies with angular guitar riffs delivered at varying tempo arrangements and an expression overall drenched in pure emotional glory on this one. With a more polished production the detail found within the textured, raspy vocals finally comes to its own.

While the first couple of tracks on "Gnarwolves" pace forward at d-beat levels, recalling their EP material (as well as Polar Bear Club's "The Redder, The Better"-era), it is in songs like "Bottle To Bottle" where we find the band at their very best. Slowing down somewhat from the breakneck speed approach allows the band to explore their intriguing soundscape in more detail, and gives the vocals a chance to utilize unusual vocal patterns to truly shine. The lyrics in particular come into spotlight here with their commentary on alcoholism. The social critique doesn't stop there, as evident in the piercing "Smoking Kills": "We are the product of a broken class but we weren't raised to be fucking morons why have the products of my fathers burden, it wasn't promised to me.". The tempo change is drastic before this section and creates an anthemic, scream-alongable passage that is simply brilliant. Here, the similarly gravelly and challenging soundscape of Half Hearted Hero on "Whatever" EP comes to mind as well.

The record is scattered with such moments of emotional gold that fulfils the promise demonstrated on EP songs like "Chlorine In The Jean Pule" and "Tongue Surfer" among others. It is here Gnarwolves forge an identity for themselves without going overboard in cloning their US counterparts' sounds. While the overall album still isn't as consistent as one would hope it to be, there are more than enough great tracks on the record to justify a high rating nonetheless. One of the better punk albums to come out of the UK in a while.

Download: Bottle To Bottle, Smoking Kills, EBB
For the fans of: Polar Bear Club, Half Hearted Hero, Make Do And Mend
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.09.2014
Big Scary Monsters / Tangled Talk / Pure Noise Records

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