George Ward
George Ward

Freelance journalist based in Bristol. Can be found at the Grain Barge, Rough Trade or in his tiny basement bedroom writing for CLUNK.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I first found cowboyy with their debut single ‘Gmaps’, I knew I’d stumbled across something special. Few recent debut singles have had as much character, energy and uniqueness as this one. The main riff is jittery, bizarre and somehow incredibly catchy. The guitars bounce frantically off one another while the lyrics match their energy. There’s also a refreshing cheeriness to the track that is missing in most new experimental music. Every time I hear “Ohhh I just keep on walking”, I can’t help but smile.

These playful riffs are all over ‘Epic The Movie’ and they are what make cowboyy stand out from the rest. ‘Tennis’ is equally strange, with its riffs feeling almost made up on the spot before returning instantly to perfect tightness. The bridge opens up, leaving reverbed vocals and space to breathe, before the guitar roars back in, with a soaring lead line. 

It is easy to lump cowboyy in with other experimental acts such as black midi but I think that would be unfair to the amount of creativity packed in this EP. And so do cowboyy, as they make very clear on the hilariously tongue in cheek ‘Algorithmic’: “And no I’m not a fucking black midi ripoff”. 

The lyrics and vocals are an unusual aspect of ‘Epic The Movie’. They are at their best when they match the fun of the instrumentals. On ‘Gmaps’, the lyrics descend into nonsensical rambling, while on ‘Algorithmic’ the sassiness of the rebellious vocals is brilliant: “I don’t want to be on a fucking Spotify playlist”. The song is silly, self-aware and so much fun.

At times, like on ‘Plastic’, the lyrics can be emotional, while sometimes slightly repetitive and, with the vocals mixed so loudly, you almost wish they were saying a little more if choosing to be serious. 

Luckily, this doesn’t weigh down the EP in the slightest. The variety of sounds and styles is exhilarating and truly impressive. From the metal guitars and funky drums of ‘Algorithmic’ to the post-rock slowness of ‘Nothing’, the EP feels far larger than it really is. 

When you reach the end of the final track, you’ll feel satisfied but craving more and wondering where on earth cowboyy could go next. This really is all you can ask for from a debut EP. 

Listen to ‘Epic The Movie’ here:

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