Album Review: Gnarwolves – “Funemployed”

Gnarwolves, arguably THE best band in the UK at the moment, have gone and done it again. After their phenomenal second EP, ‘CRU’, did anybody think they would be able put out a collection of songs that were as impressive? Could Thom really have any more truly memorable lyrics in his arsenal? The kind that make it impossible to control singing along to? Could Max’s drumming really get any tighter and neck-breakingly impressive? Could Charlie’s hardcore influence really shine through any brighter (darker?) whilst still holding on to that signature Gnarwolves sound? Put simply, the answer is “YES”. A crowd-surfing corpse, blindfolded tre-flip down a ten-stair, bathing in scrumpy, two bongs in one breath, tie-dyed wedding dress kind of “YES”.

“Funemployed” is a record that illustrates the individual influences each of the three members has brought to the table and blended them perfectly to create something catchy, meaningful, dark, fast, punk-as-fuck and of the highest possible quality on every level.

Opener “Melody Has Big Plans” is, for me, the best track on this record and the best thing Gnarwolves have ever penned (although my “favourite Gnarwolves song” does change quite regularly). This is the Cornwall-born and Brighton-based boys at their gloomiest and most hardcore sounding, and lyrically goes into the easy-to-relate-to subject of hating your hometown. If you aren’t familiar with Gnarwolves, check out the video for this song to see what it is they’re all about – skateboarding, drinking, friends and most importantly, fun.

“Tongue Surfer”, the shortest of the four tracks throws us straight into some speedy punk rock before cutting the tempo almost immediately afterwards, with the rest of the song continuing at this pace. The lyrics “I’m not the same guy you kissed, I’m a miserable shit and you know it” are guaranteed to bellowed out by everyone in attendance at future Gnarwolves shows. Is that a nod to Weezer at the end as well?

After this we have “Limerence”, the first new track they put online after the new record was announced. This one starts off slow with a Brand New kind of feel to it, whilst the rest of the song is a bit more pop-punk than everything else on the EP, especially when we reach the “Woahhh Woahhh” of the chorus.

The final track on this release, like “Tongue Surfer”, shows their serious side and proves they are just as good at the slower paced business as they are the skater punk pit-fodder. Naturally, this one starts off quick though and is a definite crowd rocker. Max really makes a statement with his drumming on this one, but the whole band have produced an excellent closer to the record.

The greatest thing about Gnarwolves is that they know exactly how to write songs that you actually want to sing along to, in fact most of the time that you can’t avoid wanting to and you may even find yourself doing it without realising. If “CRU” was one of the best records of 2012, which many people agree on, then “Funemployed” is going to be making it into the same lists come the end of this year. Now, guys, can you just hurry up and put out a full-length please? We’re dying for it! I’m sure the answer to that is “(Gnarwolves Cru), Fuck You!”, so we’ll just have to wait. I was tempted to give this one 4 Stars on account of the fact that I wish it had twice as many songs, but full marks for this.

5/5 Stars

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