When I learned last summer that Galactic Cowboys were going to ride off into the sunset for the last time, I cried like a schoolgirl. Well, perhaps not but they did put out two incredible albums and a number of releases that fell into the "better than most of the trash out there" category. It turns out that Monty Colvin, the frantic red-haired bassist (who nearly sweated on me at Piere's back in '93) wanted to pursue other ventures, those ventures becoming his band Crunchy and their eventual album All Day Sucker. A more appropriate name would be difficult to find as this collection of supercharged power-pop songs buzz along on a cloud of crunchy guitar tones. Alas, fans of Galactic Cowboys won't find the heavy, progressive rhythms of the early GC albums but instead will be treated to fourteen well-written excursions into the mind of Monty Colvin who incidentally wrote quiet a bit of the Galactic Cowboys material. For most of this album, Monty plays rhythm guitar and I miss his bass antics. Although the bass is capably handled by Scott King, he doesn't have Colvin's ability to invoke the instruments humorous charm. But Colvin's humor is evident in the arrangements and the lyrics, when they occasionally surface through the blizzard of guitars. I love a great guitar tone probably more than the next guy but on every track they bury the lead vocals, making it a chore to decipher the amiable and cynical lyrics.
The album jolts to life with the title track, a moody but energetic power-pop gem full of the trademark Galactic Cowboys vocal harmonies. "If Only" is a definite toe tapper with more candy harmonies in the chorus while "The Thing" takes good-natured aim at the "kiddie pop" bands, many by cleverly working their names into the lyrics ("Back on the street / Bunch of pretty boys.") The sarcastic "Love (Comin' Out Of Our Ears)" makes fine use of the members of the Liberty High Pep Squad to compliment its chunky, upbeat guitar rhythms and arena-rock melody. Far and away the best track on the album is the stellar "Sorority Girl", a love song from Monty to his wife during their college days where he finds himself attracted to her because she hates R.E.M., pearls, and sorority girls. While each song is strong in it's own rights, I can't help but feel that the album would have done well with two or three less tracks. Nearly all the songs have the same tempo and while the guitar tones are wonderful, they aren't exactly varied, resulting in the loss of my full attention about 2/3 through. For all these production faults, there are some really good songs and some great melodies on this platter. Nothing mind blowing, mind you, but definitely better than most of the trash out there.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, December 2001.