COWBOYS, THE: Sultan of Squat: LP

Jan 24, 2024

One of the greatest experiences in life is throwing on a new record you’ve never heard before, hearing the first notes of side one, track one spill out of the speakers, and feeling chills run down your spine at how good it is. That’s what happened with the opening and title track, “Sultan of Squat,” a snappy, organ-driven ditty reminiscent of The Leopards “’57 Chevy” and, dare I say, Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.” It’s an instant classic and excellent start to The Cowboys sixth album. Much like predecessors 3rd LP and Bottom of a Broken Flower, Sultan of Squat spans the genres of power pop, garage rock, Gram Parsons-esque country folk, and Kinks-inflected pastoral rock, yet never sounds like a retread. The band continues to evolve and push their sound beyond the confines of the genres just noted. That they’re able to cover so much sonic space in a cohesive way is a testament to Keith Harman’s songwriting ability and The Cowboys’ chops as musicians. The highlights for me are Midwest power pop gem “Raining Sour Grapes” and Joe Jackson-styled piano rocker “Token Drifter,” but the whole record smokes. –Josh Benke (Feel It, [email protected], feelitrecordshop.com)

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