Underneath The Owl is the first Riverboat Gamblers record that I've knowingly listened to. With all the hype that's preceded them, I'm pleased to say that I'm not disappointed. The record sounds like a well-recorded version of a band that is probably a lot more raucous and sloppy live. There are some Clash-y parts, some Motards-y thrash, and an ill-advised xylophone ion one track, but all in all Underneath The Owl sounds like a punk band that's been around for a bit and recently signed to a major, which they have. That's not a out and out diss. Don't expect them to go all Goo Goo Dolls, but the xylophones and steel parts are definite signs of a band expanding their horizons. Producer of the moment Mudrock did a great job with the recording, everything is big and lush without sounding cheesy. The Tearjerker is especially good, and shows all the signs of being the hit unrepresentative of most of their material that could cross them over. It's a good tune, but I much prefer the stuff like Keep Me From Drinking that has a bit of a punky Figgs vibe to it. The closing Victory Lap is no joke either. Riverboat Gamblers are obviously a band that has the force very strong with them. Do check them out if you haven't already. I'm getting ready to put Underneath The Owl in heavy JS-NYC rotation.
Riverboat Gamblers are on tour with Fake Problems, who I'm pretty sure I really don't like, but I'm definitely going to check them out when they come through town next week. You should, too. In the meantime, check out Underneath The Owl here. The Gamblers are touring heavy behind it. Find out when they'll be in your town here.