Westcoast rock has really made a remarkable revival the past decade. Many bands and artists are from Scandinavia within the genre today, and Swedish STATE COWS (Stefan Olofsson and Daniel Andersson) is one of the most interesting acts. Alongside with OLE BÖRUD and JaR (Jay Graydon and Randy Goodrum) they're the very best ones, as well. This is the second album (the debut was out in 2010) by these frightfully talented songwriters and musicians, and once again they prove they're in the premier division of westcoast.
Just like last time we get some great guest appearances here. MICHAEL LANDAU adds a lengthy guitar solo in the opener "This time". It offers an obvious MAXUS vibe with very Robbie Buchanan influenced rhythm keyboard, however with a rather unstructured solo by Landau. Solo-wise I prefer "In the city" where JAY GRAYDON once again shares his six string knowledge and brings a completely awesome solo. It's a quite AIRPLAY sounding tune with lots of cool chords to choose from, great horns and a chorus that adds more soul and makes me think of early BILL CHAMPLIN albums. While at the subject of Champlin: he's singing in "Finally fair and balanced". It's a typical soul/westcoast song and it fits The Champ perfectly.
Among the best songs here (and I can assure you, there are many great ones!) we get "Mister White". Lots of PAGES grooves here, and those who like STEELY DAN have to check out "Center of the sun". Plinky keys, anyone? I just love the slightly AOR:ish westcoast song "I got myself together" with its dut-dut keys in the chorus part. I actually think of AVALON here, and a touch of TUBES – added by some AIRPLAY moves in the end!. Not to mention a very good and tasteful guitar solo by none other than IAN BAIRNSON (ALAN PARSONS, PILOT, KEATS). Well, nothing to complain about here. This second album is ALMOST as good as the debut, and that says a lot.
Finally a general question, just to put things in perspective: How often do you get new album releases with obvious influences of MAXUS, PAGES and STEELY DAN? Add to this a very good singer in Andersson and top class arrangements all the way through. We should all be extremely happy that the new generation of musicians delivers like this. All musicians deserve a warm round of applause. In short: BUY, BUY, BUY!