The Last Cow (Sweden) - ‘B True To Yourself!’ (Single)
The intriguingly-named The Last Cow is a Swedish alt-rock band from Gävle which features members from classic early Swedish punk and new wave bands. Regular readers may know Gävle is one of my favourite places on account of the sheer volume and variety of music that emerges from this fairly small city in central Sweden. (By way of contrast, the strictly unconventional SoLBLoMMA, who we featured last week, is also originally from Gävle).
Among the musical influences to be found in The Last Cow’s sound are The Velvet Underground, Manic Street Preachers, Pearl Jam and Tom Petty. After a long hiatus from the music scene the members of The Last Cow made a spectacular comeback in 2019, releasing seven singles in a row. They’ve been quiet since then, another hiatus in their dotage I guess, but this has been worth waiting for.
I reviewed one of their songs in June 2019, ‘Manolito’, which concerned a character in the 1960’s television series ‘The High Chaparral’, a character with a multitude of contradictions hidden by a pair of warm brown eyes and a roguish smile. It was a fascinating journey through a song which “starts like the soundtrack to ‘Plan Nine from Outer Space’ then proceeds to channel The Jam and 1970’s prog-rock band Argent.” I concluded “it won’t take long to grow on you. I loved it.”
So, almost two years on they are back with another series of singles, of which the first is ‘B True To Yourself!’ and after which I guess there will be another hiatus. And I thought it was only busses that came all at once.
The message here seems to be similar to that of Chumbawamba’s ‘Tubthumping’ and its repeated chorus of “I get knocked down, but I get up again/You're never gonna keep me down.” In this case;
“Time is still on your side…/From time to time you fall down/But you will always come around/So be yourself/Be yourself/B true to yourself”. I suppose there’ something of IDLES as well in their soft post-punk approach, at least in the lyrics.
Musically, they are likened in the PR specifically to Tom Petty with this song and I get that. It carries a strong melody line in a typically American, well almost Americana fashion. You could easily imagine Johnny Cash singing it. Then towards the end, and as they did with what sounded similar to Argent’s ‘Hold your head up’ on the previous song, they wander off on their own little prog-rock excursion again here, even throwing in a mandolin for good measure.
And all topped off by a real genuine rock voice, the likes of which you rarely hear these days and one with a flavour of The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon in it.
I reckon they’re a great live band, too, if we ever get the chance to see them.