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June 19, 2024

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Beachwood Sparks
Make the Cowboy Robots Cry (Sub Pop)

By: Cam Lindsay

After surprising folks with their debut album and melting hearts with last year's Once We Were Trees, Cali's alt-country sensations, Beachwood Sparks have quickly returned with an EP of brand new material. Make the Cowboy Robots Cry is another dazzling display of psychedelic country rock dipped in sunshine, yet with a nice, new twist. Co-produced by Jimmy Tamborello (Figurine, DNTEL), the EP has been tweaked by Tamborello to give the band's sound some new and electronic elements. The glitches and bleeps used are hinted ever-so-slightly, and are barely noticeable at times. "Drinkswater" begins the EP, and might just be the bands finest moment to date. Clocking in at over seven minutes long, the track introduces new drummer Jimi Hey with flying colours. The song starts at a tortoise's pace, with a harmonica that sounds like it's been tinkered with by pixies. What stands out the most besides the Flaming Lips-grandiose breakdowns are the wonderfully played keyboards by Brent Rademaker. Left in the background for the majority of the song, they switch from ethereal on the verses to fairground-like on the chorus. Another nice addition is the guest vocals of Mia Doi Todd for the dreamy "Ponce de Leon Blues". Using the sweetest xylophone and some tear-inducing slide guitar, the vocals of Todd and lead singer Chris Gunst sound as wonderful as stalwarts like Gram Parsons and Emmy Lou Harris. Another winner for the best country band in the world. A
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