Riverboat Gamblers, 'Underneath the Owl' (Volcom)

Critical Mass
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by Steve Kandell

Chest-thumping call-and-response, greasy riffs, lyrics about drinking and girls and Vicodin and more drinking -- if Against Me! had paid their dues opening for Faster Pussycat at the Whisky in 1984, they might sound something like this. But for every straightforward burner like "Catastrophe," there's a subtle curveball such as the glockenspiel-enhanced "Robots May Break Your Heart." It's weird to think that these Texas upstarts are largely relegated to the fringes of pop -- what they do is so basic, so elemental, it's hard to even come up with a modifier to place in front of "rock."

Listen: Riverboat Gamblers, "Victory Lap":

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