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.