Life, love, the Rodeo


Ethan Long
Journal Staff

Once in a while, an event will occur that shifts the human perception of time, space, and the universe. Since being born, I have encountered quite a few of these: opening night of Star Wars: Episode III, that one time someone put Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean” on the stereo at that one party, and that other time when a bunch of cops thought me and a couple friends were filming a porno in public. The end of this month, however, will not bring about one of these life-changing events. The Rodeo Church, an Allston-based band featuring percussion, string instruments, synthesizers, and vocals will release their EP, titled The Rodeo Church EP. This is not one of those events, however, the EP is extremely enjoyable and will definitely lift smiles across the faces of those who put their ears to the music that can only be described as “super cool,” “fresh,” “funky,” “sassy,” and “yummy.”

Before I continue with this review, I must point out that the adjectives above were handpicked by members of the band themselves. Now, onto the review.

First up is the song “Miserable.” “I know where I am, everything’s the same, wake up in the morning, miserable again.” Wow, if there were a prize for best lyric to describe the lifestyles of those with scheduled lives, or just lives that don’t seem to be going anywhere, this would take the proverbial cake. The track features heavy keys at first, playing harmonies off of each other, as the guitar then picks up the slack. The bass in the background pops up and down, more often than your normal pop bass will. The song seems to tell the story that we all live at many points in our lives. The feeling of a long tunnel with some sort of unattainable light at the end can be torturous. Days and days can pass within a void like this, but the paradoxically upbeat feeling of the song seems to remind you that you’re not alone in your misery, so you should just suck it up, chug a Four Loko, and dance like crazy.

The second track, “Laughing Panther/Post-Party Disaster,” seems to be another lesson you’ll learn in the real world. A friend of mine once described this with one quick phrase, “don’t count them before they happen.” The story tells of a man and the girl he’s going after. When things don’t work out, he requests one thing from the girl who has been “blowing [him] off in all the wrong ways;” to “put a Band-Aid on my bleeding heart.” The track is one of the loudest on the EP in terms of the soulful pseudo-screaming out of singer Adam Young’s throat. Rock, in its purest form, is complimented by tangy guitars as well as drowned out cymbal crashes.

“The People Who Brought Us Up” relates to those who feel like the world around them is a mess, but realize that there is no way to stop it. According to Young, “It’s kind of a social commentary about how people raise their children with the wrong priorities and how bad parenting is an endless cycle because children who were parented poorly become poor parents.” The keyboard and guitar parts on the track could be compared to those of a Strokes or Mates of State song, as it becomes one of those songs that would be great to listen to while driving.

If the final track on the EP, “Desperate Is Not a Sexual Preference,” was written in the 80s, it would definitely have been a hair-metal power ballad about the loss of love and the love of what once was. The song, initially written as a tongue-in-cheek response to artists who only wrote about love, perfectly anchors the four song EP. The warble-wobble from the synthesizer in the background gives the song an initially uneasy feeling, but eventually clears up, leading into one of the strongest portions of the entire musical experience. Young, a self-proclaimed soundsmith, conducts an electric orchestra that sounds like an out of control train, reaching its final destination, the realization that whatever once was is lost.

The entire EP is a well put together love letter to life lessons that fit to everyone’s experience. It’s electronic parts mix well with it’s analog parts, giving it the feel of your normal pop band, but without the Jonas Brothers haircuts or annoying marketing campaigns. The Rodeo Church isn’t a band that will tell you what good music should be, but instead is a band that makes the music they want to make, which just so happens to be addictively catchy. The tentative release date for the EP is December 3, but be sure to listen to the band’s singles yourself at