A horrible hack


The Chronicles Of Gnarnia

Year Released: 2014
Format: CD
Label: pure noise
Reviewed by Andrew Revis on Apr 26, 2014
After flogging their shit up and down the country in exchange for weed for what feels like forever, Gnarwolves have finally arrived here, a full-length album. Well, a full-length of sorts, anyway - it’s actually simply a compilation of the three eps they’ve released to date, ordered chronologically, no fuss, no bonus, no filler. And the whole thing’s a fucking riot, an irresistible combination of hooks, melodies and anthemic choruses.

That ramshackle self-released, bedroom-recorded first ep, Fun Club, from back in 2011, made more with love and talent than any studio nous, and all the better for it, introduced us to a snotty trio already experts in the genre, hardcore kids playing punk, ‘PUNK FUCKING PUNK’, as they still call it. Five tracks long but endlessly inventive, with Party Jams, No Time For Old Bones and Chlorine In The Jean Pule they had straight away stumbled upon a sound sorely missing from British punk music in recent years. And maybe, when Thom Weeks sang ‘This is only the start!’ on Party Jams, and ‘We can do better!’ on Reaper, it was no empty threat; he was merely warning us.

And so they returned with CRU - the collective noun for a group of Gnarwolves fans - in the summer of 2012, and he proved to be true to his word. Opening with History Is Bunk, this was the first track I heard from the band, when a friend sent me a link to the video and I nearly lost my shit. ‘YOOOOOOOUR BOILING BLOOD, MAY RUN THICKER THAN MIIIINE…!’ - still the perfect opening for their live show, especially when following the Raining Blood riff. That video, of the three of them dicking about in their front room, sums up the band as well now as it did then: boozing, partying, pogo-ing, shouting. Also on CRU, the peppy We Want The Whip! and the grimey Community, Stability, Identity, sounding almost like a follow-on from the track Decay on Fun Club.

A year later and another Gnarwolves ep, Funemployed. Just four tracks this time but four crackerjacks, Melody Has Big Plans about as close as they get to straight-up alt-rock, Tongue Surfer with that awesome riff and shifting tempo - it’s just so fucking good. ‘I’M NOT THE SAME GUY YOU KISSED, I’M A MISERABLE SHIT, AND YOU KNOW IT!’ And Limerence, perhaps their finest moment to date, from that serene intro through every single shoutalong line.

This is the best the UK has to offer right now, though a debt must be paid to our yankee brethren. There is certainly a big American influence to Gnarwolves’ sound. American punk rock - as well as healthy dollops of college rock, emo, metal and hardcore - is an unmistakable presence throughout, and maybe even some thrash and doom. But while America has its Iron Chics, its Title Fights, its Lawrence Arms, its Joyce Manors, we have Gnarwolves and The Dauntless Elite and Apologies I Have None and Bear Trade, so we’re doing alright! Here, from Gnarwolves, we have a collection of songs many bands would be delighted to release as a best of at the end of a run of successful albums, wherever they happen to be from. There’s a chance they’ll never top this, or it could be a mere sampler of what brilliance is to come next - who knows? And hell, it‘s not even very well mastered! Each of the three eps on The Chronicles Of Gnarnia plays at a different volume, Funemployed noticeably quieter than the first two. But really, who gives a shit? It’s fucking Gnarwolves!
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

Share this:

Related Reviews

Gnarwolves - Fun Club
Fun Club
Brain Ache Records, 2011

noisy, passion-drenched, and perhaps slightly immature

Handguns - Angst
pure noise, 2012

look away now if you hate pop-punk made after 1993 or kieron gillen

Troubled Coast - Awake and Empty
Troubled Coast
Awake and Empty
pure noise, 2012

something more than just another post- hardcore band