The Growlers might just be S.B.’s favorite out-of-towners. Since opening Devendra Banhart’s sold-out SOhO show, these psychedelia-loving Costa Mesa rockers have played everywhere from Muddy Waters to Jensen’s and back. More importantly, though, they never fail to bring the party. On Hot Tropics, the sextet delve a little deeper into the world of gypsy-infused surf guitars and come out with 10 songs’ worth of swirling, organ-backed fusion rock. While their sound is still marked by loads of reverb and frontman Brooks Nielsen’s signature howl, the eerie stories of “Camino Muerto” and washed-out country of “Nosebleed Sun” indicate a definite growth in writing. In place of the repetition that kept 2008’s Are You In Or Out? from being a full-blown hit, Hot Tropics offers a solid mix of The Growlers’ many sonic tricks. And best yet, they don’t sacrifice one bit of the grooviness that hooked us in the first place.


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