Fireworks

State Cows - 'The Second One' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     December 07, 2013    
 
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An album that offers little to get excited about.

State Cow's first, self-titled release was certainly lauded with plenty of praise on its release in 2010, being described as "Westcoast music at its best" and "A future classic amongst Westcoast fans". High praise indeed, so how does their aptly titled sophomore record, 'The Second One', measure up? Is it a prize bull or a bit of a heifer? Well, it shows brief flashes of the former but way too much of the latter, I'm afraid!

State Cows, a bloody silly name in anyone's book, are essentially the Swedish duo of Daniel Andersson handling vocals and guitar and Stefan Olofsson providing keyboards and synth bass who have, as on their debut, roped in a variety of other musos to help them out with the recording. One such contributor is long-time Chicago vocalist Bill Champlin who pops up on one of the best cuts, 'Finally Fair And Balanced', a funked-up number, shot through with some soulful R&B (that's the old fashioned rhythm and blues of course sports fans, not that jacked-up, booty shakin' nonsense). But that and the Toto-esque 'I Got Myself Together', with its almost 'Hold The Line' piano refrain and lush vocal harmonies, are the only songs worth talking about.

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The rest is just bland, Bland, BLAND! Don't get me wrong, it's all very pleasant on the ear, very well played and everything but it's all rather too pleasant; nothing grabs your attention and none of the melodies or choruses stick. All too often it veers into insipid MOR territory that's occupied by the likes of Christopher Cross – it doesn't help that Andersson sounds awfully like the Texan balladeer, on occasion. No, most of this is no better than background elevator music or even worse, "I'll just put you on hold" call centre music...Arghhh!! And another thing, although a drummer is credited, I have a suspicion that a lot of the drums are from a machine, either that or the production is so polished it makes them sound synthetic. Either way, it's another downside to an album that already offers little to get excited about.

Prize bull? Not a chance. A bum steer (a steer, as you people – who Sammy Hagar eloquently refers to as tractor pullin' motherf****ers – will know is a castrated bull) more like, coz this definitely has no balls!

Alister Strachan

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