Aug 26, 2011

Black Cowgirl - S/T EP ...

Considering Black Cowgirl has Ben McGuire (guitar and vocals), and Chris (bass) both of Electric Horsemen, and Mark Hanna who is the ex-drummer of Backwoods Payback in the band; I was expecting a pretty doomy, filthy sludgy kind of release here. Instead this EP is an offering of straight-forward hard-rock tunes with southern blues, country and mild-psychedelic touches. It is still heavy and has its fair share of sabbathy moments but this is still far more generic than what I was expecting. There is melodic hooks and even a pop/rock-aspect to these songs that would easily be at home on any number of classic rock radio stations.

The EP kicks off pleasing enough; Talk of Wolves' and 'Roadmaster' are energetic performances of the old-school stoner-rock variety with psychedelic elements. Listening to this reminds you instantly of the southern-rock of early 'Skynyrd' mixed with a more bluesy take on Black Sabbath with Thin Lizzy styled dueling leads. The drumming has some real punching power behind it while the guitar work has a sophisticated feel to it. So it is all good for the first few minutes but like many other releases, the rest of the EP fails to keep up the momentum and the same quality of the two opening tunes. The energy level drops and while the other tracks are still good, they pale in comparison to the EP's excellent beginnings.

From here on, the EP drops all kinds of different influences and sounds into the ears of the listener. I can hear traces of bands such as Witchcraft, and even more southern-rock elements that come to party in various passages of their songs. As the EP progresses, it seems to get more relaxed and soulful in its own way. This is all well and good but after the fiery start to the proceedings, it does seem like the songs run out of steam. A song like 'Alkaline' is pure Americana with a whisky-soaked psychedelic blues vibe while another track, 'The Ride', is pure vintage hard-rock that could have come from any number of early 70's hard rock records. They break out some heavier grooves for 'Dead Horse' and 'Eclipsor' but still fit in some country twang and it is those sections which really don't cut the mustard for me personally. There is no doubting the skills of the musicians involved but the songs don't leave much of a lasting impression or at least they didn't for me.

Basically most of this is fairly simple heavy blues with even simpler, straight-forward tempos with pop music sensibilities thrown into the mix. I hate to use the word "mainstream" but if you wanted to ease a hard-rock/stoner-rock virgin into the scene without scaring him or her too much, Black Cowgirl would be a good band to start with. The heavy qualities that the EP possesses could be classed as "easy-listening' hard rocking sludge with a southern-blues feel. As you might of guess, this EP didn't rock my boat too much at all but I am impressed by their musicianship even though most of the songs are fairly simple and straight-forward. It is almost impossible to put-down a EP like this too much as there is nothing horrible or offensive about it but there is not much to get excited about either. In other words; it is good for what it is and not much more can be said.......6.5/10

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