Crooked Cowboy and the Freshwater Indians - Annalog and Her Hopeful Diaries
Record Label: Neurotic Yell
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012
So there's this musician that calls himself The Crooked Cowboy. To date he has released an armful of discs and tackled a melange of genres (experimental jazz, spaghetti western, punk, lounge), and after all this exploring, he has settled into something truly special. That end result is Annalog and Her Hopeful Diaries. Ostensibly an album that aims to recreate the sounds of the American West, Annalog and Her Hopeful Diaries is an innovative, intriguing and deeply imbued cut of first-rate roots-rock.
Album opener "Bed Bugs" is dusty, dry and barren. His vocals are woody and plaintive and the entire landscape of the song is both haunting and enchanting. Add to it a layer of gorgeous vocals from Amanda Frances and the song is veritable proof of an artist who knows his way around a song. "Annalog And Her Hopeful Diaries" moves in much the same way as "Bed Bugs" but goes a little deeper. Bordering on theatrical and vaudevillian, there's a sense of urgency amid the languid instrumentation and jolted by a backing band of brass instruments, "Annalog and Her Hopeful Diaries," is an absolute stunner.
As one might expect, "Bumpy Roads" is cinematic, herby-jerky and yet ultimately very rewarding. There's an array of blips and bleeps that are buttressed by slightly ringing guitars and this instrumental track feels like a drive down Route 66. The penultimate cut of Annalog and Her Hopeful Diaries is "History of The Bug (Part IV)," another instrumental offering that is creepy, serpentine and most definitely nocturnal. There's a gentle placidity that seems tailor-made for a late night stroll. The EP ends with "Bodies," an acoustic and intimate affair that segues into a rattling and ethereal folk jaunt that is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
When all is said and done The Crooked Cowboy has indeed crafted an album well worth listening to. Though it is decidedly subdued and sanguine, there's something truly profound and important here. Thank God an ingenue mind like The Crooked Cowboy was up for such a noble task, because by George, he knocked it out of the park.