COWBOYS, THE: Bottom of a Rotten Flower: LP

May 20, 2019

I’ve always encountered mild-to-moderate cognitive dissonance trying to square the high praise this band oft-times receives with their weirdly tentative live performance... on balance, I think they do good work, but I have yet seen fit to gush. This album, the Indiana band’s fourth, continues this pattern of activity with a cover sticker trumpeting the venerable Eddie Flowers’ claim that this record is a “kinda modern Midwestern version of The Who Sell Out or Something Else by the Kinks,” which has me thinking 1) this century has reeeally got problems if a record with songs about lighting turds on fire is our The Who Sell Out, 2) If “My Ohio River Valley View” is supposed to be the new “Waterloo Sunset,” we’re all fucked, but 3) I can kind of see his point, and what the hell was The Who Sell Out anyway? They sing a dopey ballad about getting a tattoo and rock critics read fifty-eight levels of metaphor into it and call it deep genius, ya know? Many not-quite-expected twists and turns are packed into these sixteen songs, half of which clock in well under the rock’n’roll Mendoza Line of two minutes long. A song with piano and sax and keyboards can be followed by a song about getting a pie in the face and it all kinda works—somewhat like Guided By Voices, whatever they’re trying to do rarely lingers long enough to fully wear out its welcome. Next time write more songs about flowers! BEST SONG: “Take My Flower and Run,” possibly “Pie in My Eye.” “Red-headed Girlfriend” is also swell. BEST SONG TITLE: “Take My Flower and Run” running unopposed. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Messages etched in the dead wax reference butt-wiping. –Rev. Nørb (Feel It)