When you listen to a band as long as I've listened to Two Cow Garage, you're bound to see one of two things. You will either see the band evolve or keep spinning out the same sounds over and over. Two Cow Garage is definitely a band that evolves with each new album. This is a band that has gone from a roots rock band singing about busted relationships to a thought-provoking, straightforward rock band. The constant is the incredible songwriting abilities of both Micah Schnabel and Shane Sweeney. Their skills are certainly on display with this new album.
The album begins with "The Little Prince and Johnny Toxic." It's not the first song ever written about an artist's internal struggle, but it's a pretty good one. Micah Schnabel has a way of painting pretty vivid images with his lyrics, and this is another great example.
Schnabel is also good at turning an eye toward society at large. Just have a look at these lyrics: "Back before we were all critics, and cynics, and photographers..." He goes on to ponder whether we've all given into the great compromise of sacrificing our dreams just because our dreams don't pay the bills. "Are you growing up or are you just growing old?" Indeed. That's a question we all have to ask ourselves. I for one wonder how many of us are satisfied with how we answer that question.
The one easily noticeable thing about this album is that the songs are considerably shorter than songs on previous albums. The longest song is 3:42. That, however, is just another testament to the abilities of the two songwriters. They can make really evocative songs of less than three minutes. If I haven't made it abundantly clear already, I am an unabashed fan of Two Cow Garage. And I will be as long as these guys keeps making great songs and playing music like their lives depend on it.