Cowboys in Cardigans is a four-piece band consisting of Jamie Reaume (vocals/guitars), Jordo Tough (drums), Devon Pastorius (guitars) and Taylor Horne (bass) who recently released a full-length album entitled Cockatoo. On their Bandcamp page they imply their music has similarities to music from 1994. They claim bands like The Pixies, The Dandy Warhols and The Red Hot Chili Peppers are ripe for comparison. I will nod my head in agreement but would also include Candlebox and Collective Soul in there as well. That and the lead singer sometimes sounds like Phil Collins mixed with Peter Gabriel (not a bad thing in my book).
I listen to a lot of music and I am a certified audiophile who embraces the sonic bliss of a well-produced album. Cockatoo certainly falls into that category thanks to SLR Studios. The album is pure ear candy from an aesthetic perspective. Cowboys in Cardigans’ instrumental lineup is pretty basic but the songs sound huge. Every instrument is clear but never thin, the vocal sit perfectly within the mix and the low end is never muddy.
Cockatoo may have great production but that doesn’t make a good album. Your bread and butter still has to be the songs themselves. Well, luckily for Cowboys in Cardigans they can also write a pretty good tune. Perhaps the most unexpected thing about the album is that it’s a “grower.” The songs are pretty basic rock/pop tunes and upon my first listen I thought it was solid but have to say it didn’t jump out at me where I needed to immediately text all my friends.
It wasn’t until about the third spin where the groove of the music started to mend itself with my brain and things started to align. I mention this because in this day and age people go through music like toilet paper. If this doesn’t hit you upon the first spin then do yourself a favor and take another listen.
EP’s are starting to become more prevalent within the indie scene. Making an album isn’t as popular as it was twenty years ago. Hence, it was a treat to sink my teeth into Cockatoo, which is a full-fledged album with ten solid songs. out of those ten there were a couple that I have an affinity for.
The opener “Cheeky” rocks out quite while still having a pop sensibility. It definitely contains that ‘9’s flavor the band was hinting to on their Bandcamp page. I wasn't really sure why they compared themselves to The Red Hot Chili Peppers until I got to “Tarantula,” which seamlessly marries rock and funk. I also thoroughly enjoyed the closer “Fingertips,” which displays the band experimenting with dissonance and chaos.
Not every song was a homerun on the album but as a whole it is a success. Thoroughly enjoyable, unpretentious rock.
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