You can’t really accuse Howlies of having any streak of originality. Not only do they rip off 1960s garage rock, they rip off every other dirty rock group that’s tried to revive the lo-fi twist-and-growl sound over the past few decades. The fact is, though, Howlies do it right. And it helps that producer Kim Fowley (of The Runaways production fame) knows how to fabricate a band to perfect imperfection. So it’s a little prefab, so what?
Trippin’ With Howlies takes classic three-chord garage, reconfigures the sassy guitar solos and craftily inverts the inflection on Ramones-inspired “whoa-whoa” chorus lines. “Sea Level” indulges in beach party surf, but the kind that induces dancing like a sinister seizure. “Sweet Denise vs. Road Rage Rhonda” unabashedly steals the melody of the Beatles “Come Together” switching back and forth between that and a sped-up 1950s sock hop tune. Finally, “Aluminum Baseball Bat” deadpans a starry night slow-dance with a violently incongruous sentiment: “My shorty left me for a dude with more money but he don’t have what I got...oh-oh that’s true. I’ve got an aluminum baseball bat…”
Do I feel manipulated by this re-hashed record? Yes. Do I care? Not really—I’m too busy dancing. (Erika Fredrickson)