Doctor Cowboy

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Boston's Ho-Ag turn in their most varied effort with their third full-length CD, Doctor Cowboy. The band's core sound is still rooted in the punk, new wave, and metal sounds of the '70s and early '80s, but increasing musical sophistication leads to more involved arrangements, with slower tempos on occasion and more of an emphasis on the imagistic lyrics. New members Kristina Johnson on guitar and Ryan Brown on bass add considerably to the group's chops, with Johnson even pitching in on vocals on "Drawing the Boundaries of the Night" and Brown not only anchoring the sound but also acting as the lead instrumentalist on occasion. Tyler Derryberry continues to add spacy electronic effects, and the band retains an affection for science fiction soundtrack elements. It's all in support of leader Matt Parish, whose voice cuts through no matter what music surrounds it, and even when the vocals have been filtered and processed for an alien effect. There's still plenty of speedy hard rock on Doctor Cowboy, but Ho-Ag are evolving into a more mature outfit here.

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