Album Review – Ford the Fjord by Cowboy Dinosaur (2020) (Rue Defense)

Cowboy Dinosaur is the solo project of Portland’s Blake Hickey, who announced his potential with last month’s quite superb Portland single, which had (not enough) micro-blogs and the odd zine .com, purring over it’s brilliance.
Thankfully, this album augments the lead single with Fooling Anybody, the title track and Not The One, which infuse incidental, pin thin jangly riffs, through pop rock sounds that owe us a much to the modern ambient pop movement, as they do to the melodies of the 70’s and 80’s. These tracks arrive at a truly original musical climate, albeit created by the juxtaposition of all we held dear from yesteryear.
Whilst the entire album has a omnipotent sense of satisfying dulcet, it is not totally reliant on the absoluteness of pretty. Broken and Donner Party  both develop from similar tender beginnings, before drifting towards a raucous that hints at electric 80’s power riffs’, before settling somewhere equidistant between the melodies of power-pop and the battered propulsive tendencies of modern fuzz and/or 90s alt-rock.
The are both mid-track ‘surrenders’ that are reigned in by the constant foundations of layers of melody that always ensures these more thrilling rides remain defiantly Hickey, rather than purely a pastiche of grumpy 80’s guitars.
Increasingly I am looking to a modern breed of power-pop / pop rock acts to provide something different to the middle-aged malaise of the above genres and their multi-variants. Occasionally, acts like Cowboy Dinsoaur, answer that call.
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