ALBUM REVIEW: Anytime Cowboy by Anytime Cowboy

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WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras

Anytime Cowboy is the brand-new side project from artist and illustrator Reuben Sawyer, who is known for his album artwork for bands associated with Funeral Party Records, and the musical project the Column. The Column has been slated to release a new Ep via Funeral Party Records on March 30, but in the meantime, we were given a brand-new project Sawyer has been working on, and thus Anytime Cowboy has been born. Combining elements of lo-fi bedroom rock, with a dash of post-punk experimentation, Anytime Cowboy takes listeners on a trip of western style songs that combine jangly guitar riffs that are bright and present, as well as hooks that with stay with the listener even after the song ends. According to the projects Bandcamp page, “Anytime Cowboy is the devil standing on your shoulder.” 

Coming from a more darkwave/postpunk background, Reuben Sawyer sees himself going in a different direction with this new album. It’s more scaled back than any songs from The Column, which often involve drum machines, and darkwave type beats from synths or basslines that echo an 80s goth/post punk genre. Anytime Cowboy is nothing of the aforementioned. Relaying on jangly electric guitars, lo-fi vocals, and live drums that really adds life to the mix and allows for a different side of Sawyer to be presented.

Anytime Cowboy contains musical elements that transcends multiple genres. It carries elements of darkwave/postpunk, lo-fi/bedroom pop, and also with its western style guitar work could have wide appeal.  Whether it’s the songs infectious and western sounding guitars like on the opening track “Story of Skin Island” combined with Sawyer’s post-punk inspired vocal arrangement to the more poppy following track, “Zenith Man,” it clearly articulates the diversity of content available throughout the album’s 12-tracks. Most of the tracks are kept to short run times, so expect to have most of these songs on repeat as they are both enjoyable and fun; another aspect of this record that will appeal to listeners: its replay value. Whether you like sitting down and listening to an album as if it were one continuous song, or like picking out your favorite tracks for a playlist, all of these tracks fit the criteria. They are short, memorable, and overall structured and composed really well with catchy hooks and overall solid instrumentation.  

The dark and melodic guitar work of “Chrome Angels” mixed with Sawyer’s vocals, and the following track “Display Case” help get the listener ready for whats expected of this project. “Display Case”  puts out these really 1990s alternative rock and grunge sound, but in the lo-fi style of the record. “The Stranger” further explores the type of guitar work found on the opening track but incorporates a rhythm section that further pushes the the new hybrid of post-punk and and lo-fi. “Cheering on the Innocent ” begins with this swirly effect and a few guitar chords that later translates into this dark, yet melodic groove. By the time Sawyers vocals come in, it becomes this really deranged sounding tune that employees the jangly guitar work and dark-wave style vocal drawl.

“Crooked Nail” picks up the pacing with an upbeat banger that’s strong and also memorable within the track listing. “Digging Around” takes the listener back with its methodically thorough guitar chords and other sorts of strange effects mixed in.  “Judgement” represents a slow, drawn out, and more intimate track, while “On Narrow Streets,” also the premiere single off the record, is a perfect entry level track to anyone wanting a quick introduction to the project. Its dark, with a bit of influence from Reuben’s previous work, but incorporates a western style guitar twang that allows the song to run its course but still remain with the listener after it’s end. “Everything is Useful” builds up towards the final track “Private Host” with its uncomfortable sounding guitars, and haunting vocals that send the listener off into the shadows of an old western. 

Anytime Cowboy represents the musical experimentation of Reuben Sawyer who really wanted to put this record out in conjunction with his other release for The Column, which comes out later this month. Fans of Sawyer should check out this project for its change of direction for the artist. It shows the versatility of Sawyer and his ability to write really catchy songs that sound new and original.  

Anytime Cowboy is available now on streaming services and purchase through Third Coming Records!
For Fans of: The Column

Tracklist

Side A:

  1. Story of Skin Island
  2. Zenith Man
  3. Chrome Angels
  4. Display Case
  5. The Strangler
  6. Cheering on the Innocent

Side B:

  1. Crooked Nail
  2. Digging Around
  3. Judgment
  4. On the Narrow Streets
  5. Everything is Useful
  6. Private Host

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