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Comings and Goings

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Album Review

The Dead Cowboys take their lyrical cue from country, with tales of barroom brawls, rambling men, and the women they leave behind. Their emotional impetus comes courtesy of the blues, while their musical inspiration is ripped from both genres, but seen through the shot glasses of punk. Nick Cave is an obvious point of reference, but so are the Damned. And any group that can precede a cover of Hank Williams with a surging song that conjures up visions of the Velvet Underground as played by Girls Against Boys on speed, then later in the album twist Iron Butterfly's classic riff to its own will, is bound to leave you gasping for breath and superlatives. And so this quartet introduces itself with a gala of fireworks. All four members have long histories within Liverpool's vibrant musical scene — including stints with the Room, Dust, Pure, et. al — and bring their considerable talents to their new outfit. The musicianship is superb and the production top-notch, and not only does the album sound great, but each track brings to it the precise elements and arrangement to best showcase the song and mood. Yet beyond the startling musical takes on dark country are the ear-catching lyrics, the kind that cry out to be quoted, that worm their way into your mind and rattle around in the back of your thoughts for days to come. Lines like "you've been sucking out my dream," "his right sleeve drips an ace of spades," and "his eyes like slits of sorrow" conjure up such vivid images that they're impossible to shake. In the best style of country, Comings and Goings is an album of sad stories, tall tales, and lives lived on the edges of both society and the razor-sharp points of emotion. A truly devastating debut.

Comings and Goings, Dead Cowboys
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