Let It Go

Galactic Cowboys

Metal Blade Records, 2000


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


One of the more unsettling things about this job is that I get the chance to hear groups I normally wouldn't consider listening to... only to find myself wondering why I didn't discover them before.

Such is the case with Galactic Cowboys, a group which shares a kinship with labelmates King's X. Their latest album Let It Go reminds me a lot of King's X, while allowing Galactic Cowboys the room to develop their own spin on the sound.

It would be too easy to draw comparisons between the two groups Never mind the fact that King's X drummer Jerry Gaskill appears on this disc and Ty Tabor assisted with "tone generation", whatever that is. Never mind the fact that King's X performed a song called "Walter Bela Farkas" (named after one of the brainchilds behind Galactic Cowboys) on their album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Tape Head. No, the greatest link between these two bands is that they create music so unique that most people don't know just where they fit into the musical spectrum. Actually, we should be thankful that such bands refuse to follow cookie-cutter practices, even if record sales are sacrificed as a result.

In the case of Let It Go, parallels can be drawn to King's X with the rich, layered harmony vocals, as well as to The Beatles for both the vocals and the pop sensibility present throughout much of the album. Tracks such as "Life And Times," "Another Hill" and "hey mr." all serve as ample proof that Galactic Cowboys are a group who easily could be superstars, if the right people were to only get the fat out of their ears and listen.

Yet there is also a sense of humor (as well as social responsibility) mixed into the work of Galactic Cowboys, evidenced on "Disney's Spinnin'". If you don't pay attention to the lyrics, you might just write this one off as a humorous little ditty - but there's some powerful messages hidden behind the smile. Of course, for each serious moment, you need a lighter side like "Boom!" (featuring chants from Gaskill - the drum work being taken over by Farkas and bandmate Ben Huggins).

Let It Go rings up success after success - with one major exception. "The Record Ends" starts off cute enough as a fable about both the end of a record and (more importantly) a relationship. Everything is fine... until the listener is presented with approximately nine minutes of cacaphony that sounds like The Who trashing their stage show by throwing it into a wood chipper. One, maybe two minutes' worth of this, I could forgive... but by the time the track hit the 12-minute mark, I was ready to rip the speakers out of my stereo and send them out the window.

Despite this one misstep, Let It Go is a disc which should make the listener wonder why Galactic Cowboys haven't caught on in a big way. The talent is there, the songwriting is there... all that's left is the huge sales. And even with the debacle that closes the disc, this album is one that deserves to be a smash on the charts.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Metal Blade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.