"I’m too sacred for the sinners/And the saints wish I would leave." - Mark Heard
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Review - Galactic Cowboys - Let It Go
The drummer switch on this last album was because Alan decided that he wanted Wanda, who just happened to be married to Ty Tabor of the cousin-band King's X. Whole lotta mess because of that. Whole lotta really good music, too. There's rumors that fences have been mended and that the Cowboys are back working together again, but I've yet to hear anything concrete.
* * * * *
When I heard the Galactic Cowboys debut album in 1991, I was convinced it was too heavy for me. By the end of the album I had been thoroughly seduced by their great song writing, heavy rhythms, intricate four-part vocal harmonies, and ability to turn on a musical dime. They only improved on their next album, Space In Your Face which I consider one of the top twenty albums ever. Over the years, GC has dropped much of the progressive trash/metal aspects of their music, putting out heavy modern rock albums that fellow Texans musicians (and similarly styled) King's X would do well to observe. Their latest, and last, album Let It Go is no exception.
More than on previous albums, Let It Go is full of great songs that could easily receive radio play. As eclectic as ever, these songs range from the acoustic "Ordinary" to the pop/rock of "Disney's Spinning" to the prog-metal meets Sabbath of "Different Way". As always, the rhythms are heavy and infective with a sweet layer of rich vocal harmonies over the top. With their usual humor, these anti-Indigo Girls take on NP radio, the media, TV talk shows, and even take a jab at Korn and Sepultura. As they are disbanding after this album and tour, they've included more studio-outtakes than usual, "additions" that actually detract from the album. The majority of these are short and you can skip over them, but by far the worst is at the end of the last song, a nine-minute montage of noise that is neither pleasant nor humorous. But that said, there is plenty of incredible music here. There are full-out scorchers like "T.I.M." and "Dirty Hands" with enough energy and melodic hooks to make even the most jaded misanthrope crack a smile. The emotive "Life And Times" is a modern day version of The Beatles' "In My Life" with the same melancholy feel and tight vocal harmonies. The last song, the appropriately named "The Record Ends", has the forced peppy sound of Foo Fighter's "My Poor Brain" and includes such telling lines as "Don't' be a beast / At least I gave the thing a try." With this last and final album, the Galactic Cowboys have more than tried, they have succeeded in creating yet another album of compelling songs that mix melody, energy, emotion, and originality in a way that only they can. Adios Cowboys, thanks for the veal!
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, August 2000.