POZ Review: Gnarwolves - Gnarwolves

by Zac Lomas, edited by Erik van Rheenen

There are no statistics in punk rock.  There are no quarterback ratings, no batting averages, no plus/minus, and no field goal percentages – just songs.  However, I’d like to argue for adding just one statistic into the punk rock mix, that statistic being stage dives per minute, because never have I ever witnessed more stage dives in a single set than when I witnessed the chaos of a Gnarwolves show.  The band’s ability to incite the masses of youth that attend their shows to disregard all bodily safety is purely uncanny and this energy is exactly what the band squeezed into their debut self-titled LP.

Gnarwolves is brash, bold, and bombastic in ways that every punk album should aspire to be; but more so, the album is not simply a hollow middle finger directed at a passing pig, it is a complete artistic statement that speaks volumes to the depth and intelligence of the three Brighton Boys.  As if Gnarwolves weren’t already aware that this LP would be under much closer scrutiny than their prior three EPs, they titled the opening track of Gnarwolves “Prove It,” which is immediately followed by ten tracks of them doing just that. 

Following “Prove It’s” mixture of big hooks, catchy choruses, and up-tempo verses is “Boneyard,” the album’s second single, which boasts one of the album’s defining lines in “We make a toast to being lonely because it’s better than drinking alone.”  At first glance the song feels like a tired teenage anthem of debauchery and drunkenness, but vocalist/guitarist Thom Weeks’ lyrics speak to more than that.  Weeks’ shouts of blacking out over and over again aren’t celebrating his alcohol use, but rather emphasizing the hardships one continually forgets with the help of countless cans of K Cider.  Weeks touches again on this theme in “Bottle to Bottle” where he sings that, “If we start drinking heavily the walls might stop shrinking.” 

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