At what point, exactly, did you really begin to hate garage rock? When legions of stylist-rumpled, wanna-be retro-rockers took over the airwaves? When ad agencies started tapping into that "hipster sound" to sell Subarus and Happy Meals? Or when you were in Guitar Center, cringing as some golf-shirted goober flubbed the riff to "Seven Nation Army" while his pals stood around braying like oxygen-deprived donkeys? Well, before you swear off garage rock for good, give a spin to Howling . . . It Grows and Grows!!!, the latest no-nonsense offering from the Catheters.
The Seattle quartet rarely takes a mop to its third album of sonic dive-bar filth and frenzy, preferring instead to writhe in a sloppy punk muck of fuzz 'n' screech guitars, sweaty rhythms, and front man Brian Standeford's collar-grabbing, broken-beer-bottle shrieks. It wouldn't be entirely inaccurate to call this collection 33 recklessly charging minutes of Mudhoney/Stooges/Stones appreciation, but the Catheters pull off their hero worship with sincerity, immediacy, and charisma to burn. And they pass the ultimate garage-rock litmus test -- making you feel as if you need to shower after listening -- with flying colors.
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