Cowtown - Paranormal Romance - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Cowtown - Paranormal Romance

by Sean Hewson Rating:7 Release Date:2016-08-19

Paranormal Romance, the 4th album by Leeds band Cowtown, is frantic. Twelve tracks in under 25 minutes. Some of them, like opener Paranormal Romance Theme, are under a minute. Their breathless indie/punk can sound like Pink Flag by Wire, or the Dead Kennedys, or the Voidoids. All bands that fit a lot into a short space of time with few instruments. The big difference for Cowtown is that all of their bass lines are played on synth by Hilary Knott. It’s like a sped-up John Carpenter soundtrack. This, in partnership with David Shields’ precise drumming, creates a very clean and neat rhythm backing for Jonathan Nash’s vocals and guitar. It is a noticeably different sound to bands that use bass guitar.

Throughout the album Nash changes his guitar sound for each song and that, coupled with their brevity keeps Paranormal Romance moving along at a nice pace. On the race to the finish line, the songs that stick out the most are Motivational Speaker (the best song on here), Castle Greyscale with its delayed guitar, the epic album closer Emojicore (they like a pun) which is the only song that makes it to three minutes and Closed Circuit which has an extended ending but still can’t quite make it to three minutes.

There is no fat on this album, nothing surplus to requirements. Cowtown also have an interesting sound based on the synth bass lines and the precise rhythm section, over which Jonathan Nash can go nuts on guitar and vocals. They’re also an awesome live band so this is definitely worth checking out.

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