Review: Evolfo’s “The Last Of The Acid Cowboys”


Royal Potato Family released Evolfo’s debut LP The Last of the Acid Cowboys on April 7th, 2017. Today we’re posting a review by our very own Nathan Livingston. Tonight Alphaville (Brooklyn) is hosting Evolfo’s The Last of the Acid Cowboys release party. We highly recommend grabbing a ticket and/or buying the album.

The Last of the Acid Cowboys is the sound of a Saturday night that refuses to end.

Check to make sure you have everything: jacket, keys, flask, a destination, and good shoes. Tonight you go dancing. The subway is loud. The Brooklyn streets are inviting. The stages are lit all night. Just pick a door and walk in. Chances are that somewhere on this Saturday night there is a band a lot like Evolfo playing through the night.

If you are listening to this album, you are probably dancing. At least, you probably should be. Most tracks begin and end with a similar intensity that refuses to let go. Whether it’s the bluesy romp of “Rat City,” the funk-addled exercise of “Luv Like a Freak,” or the more free-wheeling rhythm of “Science,” there is an urgency about the music that sincerely implies that you should keep dancing. It’s the Arctic Monkeys with more tequila down their throat.

Let the horns carry you, offer yourself to the beat, let it take you, let it make you wild, whatever, sober, lit, wise, whatever you need to feel. Destroyed by the beat, defeated by the rhythm, lifted by the melody. You should be worried about your sanity, you should be dreaming of your future. This album hooks into you and whips you around as it meanders through fast break riffs, psychedelic interludes, and horn-swathed choruses. The opening track, “Vision of Sin” demonstrates the break neck speed of most of the album, while the horn solo that punctuates the breakdown forges a more unique identity for the song that defies classification. The psychedelia doesn’t stop. The garage rock energy never lets up. The soulful horns are always on point, encouraging you to take your next sip, or bust your next move.

Ever since the first Jazz clubs opened in the city there is one tradition that has never changed: someone, somewhere, is dancing like they just don’t care. Bands like Evolfo are responsible for keeping that tradition alive. They are the garage band who for that night are as grand as the Rolling Stones. They transform into a group with shades of The Beatles in Hamburg. At their best, that’s what they truly are: a young rock band with dreams in their veins.

As intoxicating as this music is, the songs have a tendency to blend into each other, just like they would on a Saturday night. However, this album benefits from a more careful listen as well. In fact, The Last of the Acid Cowboys is most impressive when it slows down and expresses something other than the mania and confusion of a famous house party. “Peachy” and “Moon Eclipsed the Sun” both feature gorgeous horn arrangements. These slower tunes give a chance for a different side of Evolfo to shine, one that serenades you into a different kind of dance. Now you sit down and listen to the beautiful melody in “Don’t Give Up Your Mind,” and yet something about the horns that sway into the picture make you want to move again: this time a slower, more graceful and subdued elegy. Like acid mothers at Woodstock, or a weary flock of dubstep fans floating in limbo before the drop. Indeed, this album proves there are plenty of ways to dance.

Although the salient impression from this album is that of a fast garage rock band that brings down the house, it’s not all about the pyrotechnics: there is a lot to be said of the songwriting here. Many songs give off a faint Flaming Lips vibe with the way the melody meanders, and the production as a whole is rather on the warm and fuzzy lo-fi side of things. The fast, tight tunes have a whiff of the Black Lips or Jay Reatard. However, the most numerous and impressive visitor to my imaginings is of Jim Morrison, singing on his toilet during the LA Woman sessions. I mean seriously, “Rat City” seems straight up lifted from that album. The majority of songs here have that same kind of relaxed swagger. 

Not bad company all. See you tonight, Evolfo.

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