Gnarwhal – Shinerboy (2015)

From the rolling, off-kilter riff that kicks open ‘It’s Cute And They Match’ to the mellow piano outro, ‘My Waterfall Delight (Reprise)’, there is not a single uninteresting bar on Gnarwhal‘s latest: Shinerboy. It’s the kind of album that sounds like a comically over-packed suitcase, bulging with extraneous clothing items that you will almost certainly not need but will be taking anyway. You’re going to Majorca for god’s sake, why are you taking a woolly jumper.

The passionately violent and riffy guitar instantly raises See Monkey Sea as a comparison, but at approximately 1.5x the speed. Chappy Hull’s playing, while always technically great, is at the same time haphazard and energetic, perfectly complementing his screams. Tyler Coburn’s tireless drumming is masterful, from the precise typewriter clatter of ‘That’s Not Of Course’ to the insane thunderous cymbal chorus of ‘It’s Cute And They Match’.

Some of the songs Gnarwhal produce are almost impossible to get a grip on – ‘Anal Riffage’ rattles along like a runaway mine cart, flirting with half a dozen different riffs and time signatures. Even after many listens these faster tracks still leave me somewhat disoriented and confused, though definitely in awe. Hull’s vocals have a distinctly skramzy vibe about them, but the lyrics match the joyously energetic tone of the music.

Trying to pick out individual musical moments from Shinerboy is like trying to find straw in a haystack, but this review would be criminally unfinished if it was to end without mentioning the colossal riff that baroques it’s way into the start of ‘Have Fun Tomorrow From Ozzy/Stella’ that could be out of Vivaldi were it not blasting joyously from an amp, buzzing with distortion, while Coburn in the background makes a good attempt at hitting every drum in his kit at the same time.

What are you waiting for.

File Under

Math Rock, Emo, Punk, Angular, Distortion, Two-Piece

Sounds A Tad Like

See Monkey Sea, Woozy, Duck. Little Brother, Duck!, Calculator (kind of)


get (Gnarwh)all over this thing


Nashville, US of A