Album Review: The Reverse Cowgirls – “Outskirts” (Northern Cowboy Recordings, 2015)

According to Wikipedia, Reverse Cowgirl may refer to:

  • Reverse cowgirl (sex position)
  • “Reverse Cowgirl” (song), a 2010 song on T-Pain’s album RevolveR
  • “Reverse Cowgirl” (South Park), an episode from the sixteenth season of South Park
  • Susannah Breslin, whose blog named The Reverse Cowgirl was identified by Time.com as one of the 25 best blogs in 2008

What is not yet listed by Wikipedia – but can only be a matter of time – are The Reverse Cowgirls from Glasgow, who describe themselves as a psych-tinged garage rock band from Glasgow who write songs from the Clyde bayou.

The Reverse Cowgirls

Guaranteed to get your feet tapping and get you bopping around the room is the band’s about-to-be-released second album, “Outskirts”.

For all you fellow vinyl fans out there, the band are planning a vinyl release at a later date….which we will of course also have to be sent a review copy of given how much better vinyl always sounds 🙂 …but we were fortunate enough to receive an advanced CD copy from the band (cheers Hugh!) which we were more than happy to review.

Infectious is an apt description for this rather fine album, which opens with “Cry Cry”, a track that sets the scene for the rest of the album with its driving bass intro, searing lead guitar and lots of wonderful fuzz, feedback and distortion.

At times Hugh McLachlan’s vocals reminded us of that Glasgow legend, Alex Harvey, and the band clearly have the same “let’s play joyous music and have a great time doing it” sensibility that Mr Harvey and his cohorts always had.

Second track “God Bless The Queen” (perhaps not surprisingly given the title) could be a homage to the Sex Pistols, but with the difference that unlike messrs Lydon, Jones, Matlock, Vicious and Cook, the three guys and one woman who make-up The Reverse Cowgirls have great backing harmonies, no doubt influenced by their love of Sixties girl groups the Shangri Las, the Ronettes and the like…and it really does work very well on top of the post-punk garage guitars and in your face rhythm section.

Early XTC came to mind and the lead guitar work also has smatterings of Wilko Johnson about it…..but does lead guitarist Stephen Cafferty have the nifty Wilko footwork whilst playing live to go with it???

Only one way to find out, and since the album is being officially launched at Glasgow’s Broadcast on July 31st – with Creeping Ivies and Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lockpickers in support – why don’t you come along and join us to check it out for yourselves?  We suspect some serious partying may be occurring…and that will just be the band on stage.

Broadcast, Glasgow

“Evil Eye” is up next and evoked The Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up Little Susie” and classic Cramps amongst the Radical Independent Music staffers, who by this time were strutting their stuff around the office pop-pickers, and this with no alcohol consumed we hasten to add….truly a sight to behold given that it was only 10am on a Monday morning.

Watch out for fourth track “Segments Unrelated” if you are bopping around by this stage – and believe us you will be – as it has some tricky little time changes near the end, no doubt designed to catch you out just as you’re throwing your very best James Brown shapes on the dance floor.

“As Gods My Witness” could be the son/daughter of “Can The Circle Be Unbroken”, that well-known country/folk song reworked by A. P. Carter and The Carter Family from the hymn “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” and often heard played as one of the encores at James Grant gigs.

“Hit The Sidewalk” showcases those harmonies that you don’t typically expect, at least not since CSN&Y, with a drum intro from John Gordon quickly accompanied by Alaine Allison Wall’s pulsating bass and a very R&B soul kind of feel.

“Council House Country Living” slows things down for a few minutes, with a steady beat building up to a crescendo and great lead guitar break.  I think the band would have loved Phil Spector producing them on the basis of this number.

The eighth track on the album, “Midnight Choir” brings back that early XTC-ish sound, with plenty of rhythmic guitar and harmonies which we suspect Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding would have been happy to have been credited with writing.

The penultimate track, “Here It Comes” has some tasty bottleneck guitar throughout before “Brutal Stain” closes the album with a very Sixties sounding drum intro with lots of reverb, jangling guitars a la Byrds and handclaps…could almost be the predominantly male (Alaine certainly is not!) Shangri Las of Tinsel Town.

The Reverse Cowgirls consist of:

Alaine Allison Walls – Bass, Vocals
Stephen Cafferty – Lead Guitar
John Gordon – Drums, Vocals
Hugh McLachlan – Guitar, Main Vocals

and a very tight and raucous outfit they are if this album is anything to go by and we look forward to seeing them live very soon.

The album will be available for purchase and download on Bandcamp right around the official launch date of July 31st, and you can find first album, “Hokum” by following the same link, which we would also recommend you expose your ears and rockabilly dance sensibilities to folks.

The Reverse Girls - Hokum

Bandcamp – The Reverse Cowgirls

Their FaceBook page says that the band write simple music and make it complicated, but on the basis of this we would say they write great music and make it fun.  Can’t ask for much more than that, now can you pop-pickers?

The Reverse Cowgirls – FaceBook Page

Those of you who have been following the Radical Independent Music blog since it was launched will know we are not exactly in the orthodox tradition of music journalism – we leave that to the likes of Rolling Stone, Mojo and Uncut magazine, who do a great job – so no fancy star ratings systems for our album reviews, simply BUY IT!

And remember, you can never have enough vinyl and “Outskirts” is planned to be released on vinyl at a later date….you have our address guys!

The Reverse Cowgirls – “Outskirts” (Northern Cowboy Recordings, 2015 – CD, Download & Vinyl)  BUY IT!

If you would like your latest release reviewed by Radical Independent Music, then send a copy of said disc (vinyl, CD or MP3) along with any background information you have on yourself or your band to:

Radical Independent Music, 7 Queens Park Avenue, Edinburgh EH8 7EE

Pics, etc., can be sent to us via our FaceBook page Radical Independent Music on FaceBook, FB Messenger or on email to:

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