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Old 05-01-2006, 05:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Cows - Cunning Stunts

I'm bored and procrastinating studying for my exam, so I figure I'll kill some time and write a COMPREHENSIVE record review.

THE COWS - Cunning Stunts Stunning Cunts




Track Listing:

Heave Ho*
Walks Alone
Contamination
Mr. Cancelled
Mine*
Midnight Cowboy*
Everybody
Two Little Pigs
The Woman Inside
Terrifique*
Down Below*
Ort

(* denotes favorite. Replace Track x with song title from list, if you wish)

It opens with a baby getting slapped. Then the horns start their full-on assault, supported by heavy and fast riffing and frenzied vocals. This full-blown punk-rock assault doesn't let down as the horns of the first track subside and the second track kicks in. Bludgeoning you with razor-sharp drum kicks, The Cows begin to sound like a sharper version of Minor Threat.

Then the third track kicks in, and the off-kilter riff puts you on edge. It subsides, and The Cows keep doing what they do best. A jagged, stop/start rhythm gives the song an extra edge though, and the demented vocals put Ian McKaye to shame, if any such comparison is still possible. At this point, they probably sound more like Suicidal Tendencies.

On to the fourth track. Holy shit... it's almost... groovy. And is that... singing? This song is gently bass-driven. a stark contrast to the guitar-led sonic assault of the previous three tracks. And then, somewhere around the 2:30 mark, something unexpected and unorthodox happens. A harmonica kicks in. In a motherfucking punk rock song? What kind of shit are they trying to pull here?

The Cows don't give us a chance to recover. The guitar returns to it's normal role as the noisy driving force behind the band. Track five is a pretty rhythmic though somewhat unsettling song. The vocals are borderline catchy. I don't know what the hell the guitarist is doing, but he's certainly crafted a pretty interesting riff.

Track six takes the tempo down a notch, and the guitar kicks in with some weird effect that makes it sound almost ethereal, but the drumkit holds it in place. Out of nowhere drifts a melodic moan.... and the song is actually pretty. You can tell it probably isn't going anywhere. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Cool song.

Bass. Hi-Hat. Enter crazy riff. Enter demented vocals. Guitar explodes into noise, then subsides back to disturbing vocals. Back to frenzied attack. Repeat a couple times and that's basically track 7.

Track 8 opens with an almost sludgy riff, which breaks into a Melvins lite-esque rhythm with some weird half-singing/half-speech on top of it. Now they're sort of starting to resemble Jesus Lizard.

The song ends abruptly and The Cows kick back into their sonic attack, this time complete with wild screaming layered on top of the frenzied guitar attacks. The drums begin to lose momentum, marking the beginning of the end of the song, but then kick back up and the guitar becomes more high-pitched, screechy, and accelerate, until the song abruptly ends.

Track 10 is back to the weird. Noise rock at its finest. Disjointed guitar and drums, yet at the same time strangely cohesive. Everyone seems to be going insane, but they're all beautifully interconnected. The interplay between the vocals, rhythm, and riff-to-noise guitar is magnificent. Terrifique!

Track 11 is back to actual singing, supported by rhythmic guitar and drums, and beautiful high pitched screechy noises. At this point it might hit you, as it hit me, "goddamn, Sonic Youth never made noise sound this tight." Maybe if Sonic Youth had stuck to the frenzied approach of some of their No Wave peers this is what their early albums may have sounded like.

Last track. Starts off promising, with an interesting guitar melody, groovy bassline kicks in with strong supporting drumbeat. My interest is piqued. What will they do next? The singer begins howling/singing. Pretty cool... I can dig it. The drums slow down a bit... segway? No. It keeps going. It feels like this song will probably hit the same brick wall most of the songs hit... not really a bad thing, but sometimes they leave you wishing it would take you somewhere new. I guess that's why they're nice and short. We get a bit of a guitar solo towards the end, and then predictably enough, though very abruptly, it ends.

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Bottom line: if you're looking for a band capable of writing songs that verge on catchy and blur the line between noise rock and punk rock, look no further. 8.62/10
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Old 05-01-2006, 06:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yeah these guys are awesome. I got this album from the thread (I think you made it) about them. I like it alot, real wierd stuff going on but I love it. Thanks for the album man, I apreciate it.
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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good review there. This sounds like an interesting album, but i couldnt get any results on soulseek
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Old 05-11-2006, 12:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muzak
Yeah these guys are awesome. I got this album from the thread (I think you made it) about them. I like it alot, real wierd stuff going on but I love it. Thanks for the album man, I apreciate it.
man damn straight it's weird....
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Old 05-18-2006, 12:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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here it is again
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