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Ride 'Em Cowboy!


I've already mentioned in other reviews of his work just how busy of a guy Howie B is, so it should come as no surprise that he has released yet another album. This one, however, falls under the pseudonym of Daddylonglegs and it seems he's done another sort of concept album. While his Suck It And See compilation was a disc full of songs created around samples from porn music, this release (as the title suggests) is all at least partially themed around the mammal equestrian.

While it's not exactly an electronic country-western album or anything quite that drastic, there is a lot of wackiness going on in the ten tracks that comprise the disc. It goes from ambient to hip-hop inspired, and wacked-out electro funk, but almost every track has some sort of soundbite or feel that relates it (however so slightly) back to the central theme. The crazy thing, though, is that it actually ends up working better than some of his other work, possibly because of that focus.

After the rather dark-sounding album opener of "Pony Express," the album hits low-rider territory with the downright goofy "Giddy Up." With its b-boy sample and old-school drum machine beat, at first the track sounds like it's going to be a big miss, but soon another thick beat comes in and lays down over the top of it all and he adds some tongue-in-cheek offset keyboard wanky-ness that turns it into a big, lumbering mess of a track that hits on all cylinders.

Just as good is the trip-hop, spaghetti-western feel of the track "When Betty Comes To Town," that features Will O'Donovan on some very unobtrusive vocals that really just add to the lonesome feel of things. While "The Cobbler" runs a fair amount too long, "Stallion" drips with dark ambience and "Bareback" feels like a tripped-out, swirling dub. The album closes out with the playful foolery of "They Shag Horses Don't They?" It's another spacy feeling track with a thick, underlying current, and even though it runs fairly long, it never feels like it's descending into something completely freeform. While the album doesn't have any tracks that would really fuel a dancefloor (like most Howie B releases), it shows that he can also move into something a little bit slower and pull out some fine work (and possibly even better than his 'real' releases. If you like mid-tempo tracks that feel like they could have come off the Ninja Tune label, this will probably be your thing.

Rating: 7.25