In Gremlins and its sequel, the films’ main character Gizmo gets a mogwai that spawns the titular creatures, a mischievous race that multiplies and causes mayhem. Listening to Hawaiian Gremlins’ new single, it seems to raise the question: what if getting a mogwai spawned a creature that brooded intensely?
After two EPs (Teenage Ways and Girls) that have gotten the band some serious exposure and slots at many great festivals in the past two years, Hawaiian Gremlins are bringing their sound to the next level, progressing beyond their garage rocking compatriots. Since the release of their last single, “Kevin,” the band has been exploring darker territory, which would make them excellent candidates to open for The Cure on their next world tour. Sure, there’s still a ton of twang and surfy goodness to their sound, and they’re still a hoot to listen to, but this time around, their good times come in a gothic shade of grey. The track’s baritone vocals are smeared with black lipstick, its propulsive bass would make a vampire dance until daylight, and its chilling guitars bring the tears home. It’s a recipe for success, and Hawaiian Gremlins drive the point home (in a hearse, although they’re probably still wearing jorts).
“Away” and “Kevin” are introducing a dark mood to the Gremlins’ sound, one that will no doubt inform the songs from their next album. It’s all for the best, since it gives them more character. There’s still some fun here, so fans of their old stuff will be pleased and surprised. A touch of darkness never hurt anybody.