Bloomington’s best kept secret has always deserved wider acclaim, With each new release The Cowboys continue to cement their status as a garage-soul force for good in the world. The band’s last few records have refined their sound, giving a glint of pop preen to their sometimes rough garage swagger. Room of Clons, released earlier this year, pushed them perhaps a bit further towards darkness, but they’re wandering back into the light with the newly minted Lovers In Mable EP. The songs here are out from under the umbrella obfuscation and reveling in the sun that shone on their 2019 LP The Bottom of a Rotten Flower. Like that charmer, this short-form dose of swoon and swelter is doused in the big-hearted soul of frontman Keith Harman and its hard not to be taken in by his warmth.
While The Cowboys might nip from power pop well that fed Emitt Rhodes or Van Duren and mix in a crunch of the less psychedelic arm of Nuggets-era poppers a la The Mickey Finn. the band’s croon contenders find them transported back to a kind of transfixed ‘70s pop star moment. There’s a feeling of Harman occupying a state of mind that’s between Todd’s Runt years, or mocking up his best unbuttoned Bowie by way of Kevin Ayers pose There’s a shabby grandness that’s packed with allure. His tie’s undone, the ash on the cigarette is long forgotten. The lights cook deep into his features and the slight wobble of a disco ball gives things a ballroom appeal. When The Cowboys are at their best the speakers seem to sigh. They’re picking up a torch from the past to light a new path for all garage-soul sweaters. The EP is out today, so feel free to nab it up quick.
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