Sound — 9
Is it garage rock? Is it punk rock? Is it straight up country music?
Well, the alternating vocals between Holden McNeely and Doug Austin, with the occasional back up from Carly Goodspeed, create a very different kind of country sound. The twangy guitars are there, but with Devin Castaldi-Miccas heavy bass and Marcus Parks tight drumming, it almost sounds like a garage-punk band, playing country western tunes, with dark, satanic subject matter.
Songs like "Maggie," "The Preacher" and "Drinkin'" have a clear country sound, while "Boot Stomp" sounds like it's being played by a pissed of punk on a tiny stage in a basement.
Lyrics — 9
Like I said, these guys get pretty dark, and it's awesome. Sex, drugs and a healthy dose of Satan; The Cowmen songs will start out nice and sweet and end with screaming chants of "the devil belongs to me."
Is it a joke? There's definitely some comedy in the songs, but they're definitely not a comedy driven band. "Skeleton Dan," who spends too much time in the sun and gets a skele-tan, and "Russiatown" are great examples of their comedy. With the opening line in "Russiatown" "we are the cowmen and we play country music 2 3 4" with the occasional whip crack and "YAW!" here and there. But the whole song sounds like it's about a town in hell. It's beyond cool.
Overall Impression — 10
I cannot stand country music. Nothing should be that easy to make fun of. But The Cowmen are something special. Their songs are fun and scary at the same time. Scarier than any Satanic oriented metal band. There's something unsettling about a country band singing about Satan and magik. It feels more real.
I discovered The Cowmen through last podcast on the left, hosted by drummer Marcus Parks. This album is in constant rotation in my house and at work. I can't wait for new material from these guys. Hail your selves, and megustalations!