Round Ron Virgin - Cowabungler - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Round Ron Virgin - Cowabungler

by James Briscoe Rating:6.5 Release Date:2010-07-27

The nature of the release of this record was very special in that it was released on the May 25 to download for free online. You might say that we can download music for free online anyway, but Round Ron Virgin's record company, Records Records Records decided to release it as a 'soft' copy for free to bypass the need to download it illegally and, presumably, for some positive publicity. Something similar was done when Radiohead released their album, In Rainbows, in October 2007. They told their fans that they could pay as much or as little as they wished for the record.

Cowabungler was the brainchild of Oli Chance, previously of Oli 'n' Clive. Chance broke up the band to go to work for Nintendo in Germany and while he was there he found new inspiration and wrote some songs. Round Ron Virgin includes artists such as Tom, Henry and Matty from The Rumble Strips, previous members of Oli 'n' Clive, Clare Evans, Katie Potts and Sanjay Mitra (now of The Coastguards), Babak Ganjei and Melinda Bronstein of Wet Paint and Absentee and Jonnie Fielding who sings by the name of Note to Self. Sounds pretty crazy as a combined group, does it not? The favourable aspect of this situation, however, is that not all of these acts work together on every piece, which means that they can concentrate on separate songs, adding their own unique style to the songs which they perform on. Oli Chance is the voice you will hear, however.

Certain tracks, such as, 'Strong Stuff' and 'I Love You, but You are Nuts', have a somewhat unoriginal acoustic, 'make-shift' sound, created by what sounds like a ukulele. However, their charm prevents this from being a damning characteristic. Any song that says, 'I love you', and makes you believe it, will be a song that anyone with a heart will warm to. The general atmosphere of the album is either romantic or downbeat. This isn't unwelcome though in a modern music world often saturated with fake emotion. This believable emotion is one of the things that makes this album worth listening to. From the cover of the album, showing a young boy and girl with their faces painted and a balloon each, you get the impression that one of the main ideas of the album was to go back to something very simple and honest and 'Been Waiting' has the essence of a lullaby.

Now, Round Ron Virgin has to receive some praise simply for releasing Cowabungler as a free download but it is worth more than that. It isn't a free goody bag of uninspiring things and it isn't just a promotional tool to popularise the band. Despite this, even if one of the main agendas of this album was to get Round Ron Virgin's name out, that isn't something to be frowned upon; it's an ingenious idea. There are many new bands who pass us by unheard because we do not want to risk a tenner on finding out whether they are worth that tenner or not, especially with numerous uninspiring wannabes coming on to the scene every week.

Cowabungler might be more extraordinary than most of what is in the charts today but I cannot help thinking that if more time and money had been spent on it, it might have been of benefit. Maybe then, Round Ron Virgin would have dared to charge us for it.

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