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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » State Cows - 2013 The Second One
State Cows - 2013 The Second One

ARTIST: State Cows
ALBUM: The Second One
LABEL: Avenue Of Allies
SERIAL: 13 04 0052
YEAR: 2013
SPONSOR: Avenue Of Allies


LINEUP: Daniel Andersson - vocals, guitar * Stefan Olofsson - keyboards, synth bass

Additional Musicians: Bill Champlin - vocals on 'Finally Fair and Balanced' * Michael Landau, Jay Graydon, Peter Friestedt, Sven Larsson, Ian Bairnson, Peter Holmqvist, Goran Turborn - guitar solo spots * Samuel Muntlin - sax/EWI * Par Wretling - flugelhorn * Per Bejstam - trumpets, flugelhorn * Peter Olofsson - drums * Lars-Erik Dahle - bass * Mikael Emsing - percussion * Marcuz Granberg, Christian Thomsen - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 This Time * 02 In The City * 03 Mister White * 04 Hard Goodbye * 05 Scofflaws * 06 I Got Myself Together * 07 Finally Fair And Balanced * 08 Center Of The Sun * 09 California Gold * 10 Nineteen Eighty-One



For the purists, State Cows are as pristine as the water from a mountain stream, or air breathed high upon a mountain top. West Coast fans have never had it as good as these Swedes, who made a huge impression to all that cared about their debut CD from 2010. Back again for the 'Second One' (Toto anybody?), the principal duo of Daniel Andersson and Stefan Olofsson create music as if living in a protective bubble away from the crap that is todays excuse for music (Bieber, Rihanna etc). The State Cows project is not all about those two blokes, with a smattering of assistance from some very hot (by way of irony, this also means very cool!) musicians who add their collective worth. I'm thinking also that 'The Secone One' is a lot less West Coast meets jazz fusion, as West Coast meets AOR. That's a good thing right? All in all, if you're a purveyor of all three sub-genres, then you should be well satisfied.

The Songs
Ten tracks, it's just about the right number for CD's these days. The bouncy 'This Time' is a doppelganger of early 80's west coast. If Airplay and Neilsen/Pearson are your bag, then you better start collecting! 'In The City' has some Chicago like qualities, though Jay Graydon's solo ensures we are not geographically challenged, as he brings things back to a sunny Californian locale. 'Mister White' meanwhile could be Toto meeting Steely Dan in a downtown cafe, the shuffly drum work landing in the center-lane of both bands plus a bunch of other attributes. Very cool track nonetheless. 'Hard Goodbye' rides a lush but subtle synth backdrop mostly, the chorus changes shape to something more mainstream. Think Christopher Cross, John O'Banion or even Robbie Dupree. The strangely titled 'Scofflaws' transports us back to late 70's fusion. Perhaps a smidgen of Michael Franks is a good comparison, personally I think this track is totally slinky and cool! State Cows most AOR moment on the CD is 'I Got Myself Together', like Pages and David Roberts joined at the hip. Beautiful stuff. Bill Champlin takes the lead for the funk-out of 'Finally Fair And Balanced'. Again, it's a 70's flavoured affair, that just smokes attitude and atmosphere. The instruments you hear are all representative of that decade. So too 'Center Of The Sun' which takes snippets of Larry Carlton, and Pablo Cruise at a pinch, giving the CD another shot of a Californian sunset! The ballad like quality of 'California Gold' has a David Foster vibe, not quite soundtrack oriented but near enough, while the closer 'Nineteen Eighty-One' just resonates with all the best west coast/AOR artists from that decade. The closest being early era Tim Feehan.

In Summary
I loved the first State Cows album, but 'The Second One' is an improvement on that, suffice to say. Andersson and Olofsson are so in touch with their ideas and expressions that the end result just reinforces how seamless this all is! From a west coast perspective, it probably won't get better than this in 2013. Everybody else will be playing catch up. That's how good this is! Highly recommended!

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#1 | dangerzone on July 03 2013 05:36:35
Tremendous album. Definitely a cut above the debut. The way they've nailed that authentic early 80's sound makes them the Swedish AOR equivalent of Bullet.
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