Some time over the past few years, the "less-is-more" school of thought began to take root once more in rock & roll circles. The rules are simple: The less you knew about traditional pop songwriting, the more pure your songs were. The fewer guitar chords you knew, the more you were able to rock out on the ones you did know. Garage rock has worked off of these principles for 40 years, and however faddish it may have seemed, fans began to latch on to these primal, ballsy sounds once more.
The Catheters are both primal and ballsy, though there is an overwhelming sense of urgency and joy, not threatening machismo. On the newly released Howling...And it Grows and Grows!!!, the regular garage touchstones are in place: the Stooges' big, dumb beat keeps raucous time throughout, and frontman Brian Standeford has a touch of the Pretty Things in his to-the-wall delivery. But the 20-something Catheters are products of their generation as well, and the band has nicked Pavement's erratic guitar tuning and Mudhoney's fuzz pedals. What's left is a mix that doesn't prey on nostalgia but that has pumped some vitality into an oft-formulaic genre.