Your Gateway to Music and More from a Christian Perspective
Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Thank God for hard rockers with heart and a sense of humor. Let It Go, Galactic Cowboys' 6th full-length album to date, continues their practice of showing both heart and humor in abundance. The opening track, for example, is a curious loop of spoken word introductory bits and hip hop that is truly funnier to hear for yourself than to try to write about. This track ends abruptly as "T.I.M." crashes through the speakers boldly announcing that 2000 is not the year the Cowboys have chosen to alter their signature sound. Big and bold, with an edgy punk spirit, "T.I.M." goes on to take punches at the penchant of talk shows to air people's dirty laundry. The real insight underneath, however, is that a "total inside makeover" is absolutely the spiritual overhaul the "special guests" need to heal their familial woes. The result is both funny and insightful: trademark Galactic Cowboys fare.
The last song, "The Record Ends," concludes with a moment of Spinal Tap proportions, and quite possibly the longest and most absurd song ending in recorded history: all drum rolls and fuzzy guitar noise and nonsense. The fifteen other tracks in between have their amusing bits, too, like the imagery of Walt Disney spinning in his grave on the aptly titled "Disney's Spinnin'," which lambasts the media's obsession with death and evil. Later on "Hey Mr." the Office of the President and the media is taken to task for exaggerating his contributions to our country:
eloquence on your side (no lie, no way)
But, the shucks and hee haws aside, the Galactic Cowboys real gift is their ability to weave their satirically funny bits with the more poignant messages of being responsible for yourself and living a true life under God's loving tutelage.
Alan Doss, the band's former drummer left the band after their last and most ambitious album to date, At the End of the Day, but he's back here contributing from the mixing board. In his place King's X's drummer, Jerry Gaskill, fills in most of the drum parts with great, expected expertise, although the band's axe-man Wally Farkas takes a few turns behind the drum kit as well. (Farkas is also credited as the album's sole producer.) Other than that, the band remains the same and continues to churn out their melodic, yet hard-hitting take on metallic rock. While still managing to try out some new sounds like the instrumental jazz odyssey "Bucket of Chicken," Let It Go sounds consistent with their last few efforts: more soaring, growling chunk-ca-chunk guitar work coupled with clear melodies and harmonies and oodles of creativity in every corner.
Let It Go's only downside is a bit of a pacing problem toward the end, particularly around tracks 13 and 14 when the band experiments with longer keyboard-focused instrumentation in the songs "Swimming in December" and "Song for Sybo." These two lush songs stand in contrast to the more aggressive fare favored throughout the album, and as such feel a bit out of place, yet not entirely unwelcome as a break from the album's overall relentless energy.
Best of all, when some successful bands continue to churn out record after record, the thrust of what they have to say sometimes shifts from being hopeful and clear, to bitter and obscure. These cowboys haven't fallen into the trap of being too artsy or pessimistic for their own good, and, consequently, they continue their legacy of writing and playing relevant, right-on-target rock and roll ready for the year 2000.
Steven S. Baldwin 7/29/2000