The Phantom Tollbooth
November '98 Pick of the Month

At the End of the Day
Artist: Galactic Cowboys
Label: Metal Blade Records: c.1998
Release Date: September 22, 1998
Time:  16 tracks/65:30

Well, I've really got nothing to say.  Nothing to say.  "Why is there nothing
to say..?"

Well, actually, I've got something to say: this CD truly rocks! The Galactic Cowboys have continued to make music that is fun, happy, sad, serious (sometimes it's gotta happen), and an overall  chunkified breakfast of everything good about metal, hard modern rock, punk, acoustic rock, The Beatles, and even a bit of growling and feedback for those with dreams of going deaf by the turn of the century. It's music of Galactic Proportions. "But don't take my word for it!" (L. Burton, Reading Rainbow.)

At the End of the Day starts off with "Nothing to Say," and the kind of excellent, catchy chorus that keeps you singing all day at work and into the wee-hours of  morning. The next song, "Ants," reported to be the new album's first single, is a very well-written rock song and an easy favorite. With its great chorus, superb use of Monty Colvin's vocal talent, and their marquee backing vocals, this song deserves a lot of air-play. Its more than worthy of frequent calls to radio stations; more so even than some of the songs on prior albums. Honest.

Picking favorites on an album this strong is hard. Both "Shine" and "The Shape" bear a catchy vocal mix that will prompt your conscience to recite the words all day. The "Machine Fish Suite," which fills half the disk, is a great story of the Galactic Cowboy's past, as well as a chance to just enjoy some great songs outright. Some of the medley's highlights include: "Where Do I Sign?," "Mr. Magnet" and, of course, "Ranch on Mars Pt.2 (Set Me Free)." Most notably, "Bright Horizons," which sounds sort of like a really quick country hoe down, has a chorus that will crack you up. It  also bears another of their musical hilarities with its "1-2-3... chunka-chunka-chunka..." thing near the songs's end--ust one of those idiosyncrasies, like the middle part of Space in Your Face's "Where Are You Now?," that always reminds me why I like their music so much. "Bright Horizons" verses also allude to some of their earlier lyrics and definitely bring a personal element into the medley. Their humor can easily catch you off guard, at least I was amused (sorry, had to).  {Editor's note: That's an in-joke for diehard fans referring to a song from their first album.} Also, the other songs not already mentioned, like "Puppet Show," "Never Understand," "Young Man's Dream," and "It's Not Over," are all substantial songs. The album's closing track, a somber  instrumental note, is different from any they have done before. Like the mellower songs "Arrow" and "My Life" from previous albums, this one also provides an appropriate "after-album mint."

Unfortunately for fans outside Japan, the bonus track on the Japanese-only version of this album is an utterly amazing, all-acoustic song. Called "Things They Couldn't Say," it is an awesome song, featuring a unique twist from their usual "full rockin' love" style. For the Japanese fans and those who are willing to shell out the bucks for the import CD, it's a true treat and unique pleasure. With a little convincing fan pressure, maybe Metal Blade will release a U.S. maxi-single of "Ants" with all of the b-sides (like "It's Raining," "Every Knee" and "Things They Couldn't Say.") Hey, maybe it's time to email Metal Blade (he he he).

Overall, this album has the strength of their Metal Blade-era releases. The production is a tad better than on their last two. The lyrical and vocal allusion to their Geffen-days, the strong emphasis on vocals and great guitars (like always), and an overall balance in song styles all contribute to this album's powerful distinctiveness. Trying to say which of their albums is better, mainly because they are all so good, is a hateful job.  At the End of the Day, however, is as easy to love as their prior CDs, and a great way to get your friends, family, phone-line repairmen, and bus drivers into some great music. If you're unable to bring your stereo system on the metro bus with you, at the very  least you could drive alongside the bus with your car stereo blaring.

Congratulations to Ben Huggins, Monty Colvin, Alan Doss, and Wally Farkas for still being, well, the Galactic Cowboys! Of course, this review is extremely biased. I'm a huge fan of the band and the web master for Galactic Cowboys on the Web Then again, remember Mr. Burton's wonderful words of wisdom.

By Dan Temmesfeld (8/25/98)

Pump up your space suit, fans, the rumors are true. At the End of the Day is a contender for their best-album-to-date crown, right up there next to Space In Your Face or whichever is your current favorite. It delivers abundantly in all  the right areas of musical muscle, intense energy, and creativity. Sure, the songs are shorter than the opuses of older albums, but they are also tighter, too. The first three songs alone will knock you off your seat. The seven-song cycle "The Machine Fish Suite" that follows them is a must-hear experience chronicling the bands' ups and downs over their ten year career. A worthy musical journey with a wealth of riffs, harmonies, and studio fun stuff, it also contrasts the corporate greed of the music business with the Golden Rule.

If that wasn't enough, former drummer Alan Doss turns in "Through," a love-gone-wrong song, "Young Man's Dream" highlights Huggin's regrets of yesteryear, and "At the End of the Day" closes on an instrumental note reminiscent of Moby. What will they do next? The band has never sounded better, complete with distortion galore and guitar nods all over the map, including what sounds like flashes of Aldo Nova. Still not convinced? As an added bonus, bassist Monty Colvin offers a whole new slew of signature art work. If you are a fan, go buy this one right now. If they continue to make albums as good as this, let's make sure it isn't their last.

By Steven Stuart Baldwin (10/26/98)