This trio of rodeo clowns has finally hit the big time with this debut slab of wax. Arby, Tarny, and Wrangle, having grown up in a traveling rodeo under the supervision of their guardian, Dr. Robert C. Lown, have been perfecting their craft of synth-punk, hoe-down stomping in front of small rural crowds across the states. The boys have since relocated to tinsel town to try to make it big in front of the entertainment elites. Recommended for fans of Nervous Gender, The Screamers, Clowns, and Rodeos.
Our take: Debut vinyl from this synth-punk project. R. Clown sound of a piece with several recent punk bands that use drum machines… I’m thinking of S.B.F. and Race Car, though each of these projects has their own unique quirks. While R. Clown’s tough vocals might make you think of S.B.F., they separate themselves from the pack with particularly creative use of the drum machine (not just replicating standard punk beats, but using sounds and patterns a human couldn’t or wouldn’t play) and piles of memorable synth and guitar riffs. Part of the fun of this style of music is the way it bends genres, and R. Clown do it more aggressively than most. The vocals are an obvious nod to hardcore, the drum machine virtuosity reminds me of a Big Black, “Lovin’ in My Oven” has bright, new wave-y synths, and “Rodeo Stomp” even has an early 80s hip-hop vibe. If you follow labels like Neck Chop and Digital Regress, you’ll want to check this out.