Release Date: Mar 10, 2009
Record label: Volcom
Genre(s): Rock, Punk
In the liner notes to their pretty damn brilliant album Something to Crow About, the Riverboat Gamblers mention that producer (and former Big Boy) Tim Kerr would goad the band into more frantic performances by telling them "Do it like you're from Texas. " On their fifth album, Underneath the Owl, it sounds like producer Mudrock instead told the guys, "Do it like you're from Sum 41. " In all fairness to the Riverboat Gamblers, Sum 41 would give their eyeteeth to make an album this good, but Underneath the Owl hardly shows the Gamblers to their best advantage.
Armed with an increasingly long list of accolades for their energetic live show, Underneath the Owl is ostensibly an excuse for Denton, Texas, five-piece the Riverboat Gamblers to hit the road with some fresh material, but damned if these guys haven’t started to learn the pleasures of studio rattery. Owl splits the difference neatly, keeping the fanbase happy while still pushing the ball forward. Side A is all the big, obvious, high-sheen rock, meant to be heard blasting out of speakers in a sweaty dive bar, but it’s stuff that tends to mash together in the haze of a few PBRs.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a band that delivers more for your hard-earned scratch than the Riverboat Gamblers. The Austin quintet's raucous performances are nothing short of Stooge-like. Unfortunately, their fifth LP bears false witness against this. Underneath the Owl plays up the Gamblers' pop-punk traits while keeping a tight lid on their explosive tendencies.