Think about how you feel when you hear the song "Downtown"
by Petula Clark. That's the feeling I get from this album,
at least on one level, maybe others. I guess I'll wring them out
as I go along.
"Downtown", a song I really never cared for, or even
had any modicum of concern for while growing up, has somehow
managed to maintain some semblance of relevance to me. I always
thought it was this dull and lifeless song that they frequently
played at my local Skate City that managed to take all of the
fun, fast rock music, and slow it down. I was usually racing
around, weaving through people, and nothing could deaden the
whole affair like that song. God, it was like it would never
end. But, I didn't go to the skating rink much after grade school,
and the song basically faded from memory.
That is, until I received a dreadful phone call from one of
my good high school friends. His mom had committed suicide with
apparently no explanation. Her wake was a gut-wrenching affair.
A beautiful descendent of a minor figure of Czech royalty, she
lived a rather lower-class life here in the states as the wife
and mother of U.S. servicemen. She was always such a practical
joker and prankster, so vivacious and funny that it was hard
to fathom that she, of all people, would just decide, so unceremoniously,
to end it all. And during the slide show of her life, they played
that song: her favorite song, which so completely described
the highlights of her daily life that I couldn't treat it with
such disdain anymore. I still can't listen to it, though. Not
From the start with "Strawberries", Cowboys International
captures that happy go-lucky feel (and darker undercurrent) of
Clark's "Downtown." I never heard Cowboys' only other
recording from the late '70s, but it feels as anachronistic as
anything else I would expect to hear from that time, and the first
track even sounds like a contemporary of Clark's classic song.
They've been billed as New Wave pioneers, but this sounds like
much more of a proto-New Wave sound than I had expected. Not disco
and not punk, but sort of an emotionally subdued and remote form
of music that I can see eventually morphing into the lofty exploits
of Depeche Mode. "Escape" is the only track that
gets an immediate >>| out of me, but I can easily listen
to the rest of the album, even during those parts where the lead
singer seems to be searching for a key to sing in. This is one
of those uncommon albums where every song seems to be simultaneously
up and down beat; hopeful, but all too aware of reality just the
Just like the rest of us
3. The Backwards Life of Romeo
4. Hold on me
5. Don't Hesitate
6. Imaginary Number
8. Silent Sky
9. Ready Steady Go
10. Matter of Time
11. One Way Pendulum
12. Something About You
13. Here With You
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