So Cow – The Long Con
We’ve posted a bit lately on Irish act, So Cow, but in case you missed those blurbs, and still haven’t heard of this group, here’s the scoop. They started out back in 2005 as the solo project of front man Brian Kelly, and then evolved into a three-piece outfit that’s put out four LP’s up to date. Back in July the band signed with Goner Records to put out The Long Con, which makes for their fifth full-length record of DIY guitar and lyric-central indie rock.
They begin the album right off with their funky, off-kilter rock with a single “Barry Richardson,” which kicks in immediately with electric guitar that squalls and around the vocals and drums. This, along with the vocals from Kelly gives out a very meandering-post-punk vibe, but then the song manifests itself into a different animal for the chorus. Here, we see a switch to the straightforward chorus as the group joins him to repeat the title characters name. This switch is interesting because it creates a fairly large distinction between the off-kilter opening to the song and the more direct and harsh sound of the chorus. So Cow traverses this fine line for the majority of the album, constantly switching between the quirky and straightforward.
Another track that really draws on this concept is “Guess Who’s Dead,” which has a drum beat that’s all serious business, while the guitar juts out at angles at the end of lines to begin. Again, the chorus gives out a more direct notion of indie-post-punk with the grit of a tinge of metal on the guitar. All the while, Kelly’s lyrics are the very opposite of serious, discussing the going-ons of people around town; the balance here is what’s so intriguing about the sound that So Cow is all about.
My biggest qualm, albeit still fairly small, with The Long Con is that it seems to stretch on just a few songs too long. If you look at each individual song, track-by-track, you can see that this band really pulls off some interesting takes on indie-rock via their style, but it is difficult for a collection as long as this to hold your steady attention for the duration of a forty five minute long album. The last song kind of fizzles out when it comes to the energy of the record, leaving you on a slightly flat note; it makes you question the organization of the album and the incorporation of some of the tracks.
That being said, The Long Con, minus a few minutes, is a quirky and enticing album. Fans of the band will enjoy the twang of not only the lyricism that Kelly brings to the table, but also of the more direct pieces of rock-n-roll.