Against Me!
The Original Cowboy



by Meatplow USER (111 Reviews)
July 12th, 2009 | 8 replies

Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This cowboy is worth a ride.... perhaps only if you are a fan though.

Against Me! has made a pretty big name for themselves over the last number of years, starting out as a small time folk punk group with a dedicated fanbase slowly evolving through albums such as Reinventing Axl Rose, As the Eternal Cowboy, Searching for a Former Clarity and New Wave into more mainstream popularity, moving somewhat away from their original sound, losing some fans along the way and gaining some others.

The Original Cowboy is a release of demos recorded in 2003, prior to the band's second full length LP As the Eternal Cowboy. Recorded and mixed in no more then a few hours with producer Rob McGregor, lead singer Tom Gabel has claimed that "The Original Cowboy was only meant to be a trial run, but, listening to it today, there's a part of me that feels foolish for ever recording these songs a second time".

It features demos of almost every track that ultimately made the cut for As the Eternal Cowboy minus only Sink, Florida, Sink. As a result these songs are little more then roughly produced versions of what they would potentially become, but this "rawer" live feel is definitely not a bad thing at all and Gabel's sentiments towards the recordings can be more then understood. The groups undeniable energy shines though, A Brief Yet Triumphant Introduction / Cliché Guevarra is chock full of energetic guitar rhythms and rolling drums, as is Mutiny on The Electric Bay and these two tracks set things off to a great start with Tom Gabel's shouty vocals a fitting accompaniment.

Against Me! keep the energy levels high throughout the entire session, every song on here a nice slice of punk rock built around infectious pop hooks but it is on tracks such as T.S.R., the acoustic Cavalier Eternal, and Unsubstantiated Rumours where the group plays with quieter dynamics to good effect. Rice and Bread, Slurring The Rhythms and the seven minute long mashup of You Look Like I Need a Drink and Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists are what are fill out the rest of the album, and are energetic punk rock numbers equal to anything else on here. In between songs is some band chatter, and that is about it in a nutshell.

The Original Cowboy is a fine release that stands on its own, but because the fully produced As the Eternal Cowboy exists it is perhaps more only one for the fans. Against Me! are certainly an energetic band that shows a lot of promise for the album they would go on to create, The Original Cowboy is a good documentation of that. Otherwise, its a thick, meaty slice of enjoyable punk rock which is worth a listen if one would happen to come across it with no previous knowledge of the band.

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user ratings (36)

Comments:Add a Comment 
July 12th 2009


Good review. I liked ATEC, so I need to check this out.

July 12th 2009


didnt know this was released yet, i was going to review it once i got it. nice.

July 13th 2009


Can't wait to get my hands on this.

July 31st 2009


if you wear a pair of jeans, is it suggesting that each half is a singular jean??

September 11th 2009


Just get Eternal. It's not THAT big of a change, really. The big shift in their sound came between Eternal and Searching for a Former Clarity.

September 28th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Given I find "the Eternal Cowboy" to be my favorite of all Against Me!'s recording, barring perhaps "Disco Before the Breakdown," I was actually very excited about this. Solid demo, I actually like the sound a lot better than the more polished (but not too much more polished) sound of "the Eternal Cowboy." More thump than thwack to the drums, and the guitars sound fuller.

Also like the arrangement better.

April 1st 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

This cowboy is worth a ride.... perhaps only if you are a fan though.

This was my first AM! release and it was awesome.

January 16th 2014



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