Take This To Heart Records have released their 2023 Fall Sampler that includes tracks by Pony, Orson Wilds, Snarls, Magazine…
Raygun Cowboys – Fortune And Glory, Pleasure And Pain
Fortune and Glory, Pleasure and Pain - STOMP Records
Thinking back to when Alberta rockabilly group Raygun Cowboys was new and novel, their brand of brass-heavy, 50’s flavoured thumpers turned heads in the best of ways. Over the past seventeen years the band has held strong in their unique formula, with little to no stylistic comparisons across the globe. That’s a feat worth celebrating, and places Raygun Cowboys in a category of bands that are entirely synonymous to their sound. While they do fall into the psychobilly genre, their specific handling of each composition makes their discography a subgenre of its own (the concept rings true to bands like The Coffinshakers, which honestly, is the only other example of a band that stands uniquely apart in a related genre).
The point being, save for some variations in tempo along the way, the band hasn’t exactly changed their sound over the years. But this isn’t a lack of evolution, but more an act of a preservation of a rare species. We only get one Raygun Cowboys album every three or four years, so it has the benefit of feeling fresh time and time again. Their seventh full length, Fortune and Glory, Pleasure and Pain, serves as another prime extension of that legacy.
Opening with “We Want it All,” the track’s quick and dirty pace harkens back to previous album openers from Heads are Gonna Roll and their self-titled effort, revving the pace and letting fingers fly. At around the halfway mark, the classic blistering upright bass thumping bonanza leans back and transforms into a thunderous, anthemic sing along chorus. The infectious baritone chant of, “We’re coming back for more, we want it all,” serves as a fitting re-introduction to the Alberta quintet’s larger than life persona and ten-gallon hat attitude.
The bulk of Fortune and Glory, Pleasure and Pain plays it safe, projecting a familiar toe-tapping beat across a range of tempos. Songs like the title track balance a patient boot-stomping swagger and mid-song acceleration foreshadowed by the line, “it’s time to get with the show.” Finishing with no shortage of anthemic “woah-oah-oahs,” Raygun Cowboys launch the lasso of big boisterous melody firmly around their audience with no hint of letting go. Other tracks, like “Had to Go” brings the 50’s rockabilly charm, while those like “Workin’ For Nothing” settle into a steady salvo of punked-up mid-tempo psychobilly perfection. Across them all, the clicking thump of Zerk Naveaus’s tightly played upright bass matches Jon Christopherson’s deep baritone lead, with each horn blast lighting the room up like a match. “Kill Me With That Smile” even sneaks in a layer of humming organ notes during the tune’s swanky, sing-along chorus.
Overall, Fortune and Glory, Pleasure and Pain is a testament to Raygun Cowboys’ commitment to killer psychobilly with a brass-fed western flare. While there aren’t any sonic surprises to be found, fans won’t be looking for any either, and newcomers stand to encounter the Raygun Cowboys at their most faithful. Fortune and Glory, Pleasure and Pain marks another solid entry to the Raygun Cowboys discography. What more could you ask for?