A horrible hack

So Cow

Do Re Mi Fa So Cow

Year Released: 2019
Format: CD
Label: self released
Reviewed by Samuel Rogers on Nov 21, 2019
So Cow is the mostly-solo project of Brian Kelly, a singer-guitarist from Galway who is also the frontman of Half Forward Line. In both projects, Kelly plays tuneful but discordant indie pop. His sings deadpan songs that are mostly whimsical, sometimes oddball, often self-deprecating. There’s an infectious simplicity and clever poetry about his songs, without the smug knowingness of certain indie egomaniacs. Punk energy sometimes starts to sneak in, but a better reference point would be the lo-fi side of 1980s indie rock and jangle pop.

Apart from piano on one track, Kelly plays everything on this record. He also home-recorded the album and seems to be self-releasing it on cassette and CD. Some moments are just vocals and guitar, but mostly we get a full-band sound, switching from acoustic to electric guitars, occasionally introducing vintage keyboard and synth touches. The result is remarkably clean and professional, but has the rough edges of a DIY ethos that are so often lost in commercial releases. If you can tell the Soft Boys from the Wedding Present, you’re roughly the target audience for this. But there’s a creative energy and integrity here, which can also be appreciated by us non-aficionados of indie.

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