WILD COW “The Present” (Wos Records)

Wild Cow, who call themselves “Wild Cow” for who fucking knows why, came this close to having me write them off before I even listened to them, mainly because of that name, but also because they’re two guys from Brooklyn who wear pastel and have dubbed themselves the “sultans of the psychedelic summer.” That’s – how many strikes is that? That’s four strikes. That’s one more strike than you get in baseball. And I didn’t even stop there! They’re getting a fifth strike from me, because I’m continuing toward listening to the music! I’d make a godawful umpire.

Colin Menzel and Patrick O’Malley make low-key beachside bedroom pop/indie R&B, and it’s as unassuming as that sounds. Gentle guitars, keys, programmed drums, and crooned vocals populate the late-night tiki bar vibe. What’s that you say, girl? Your margarita’s running low? Let me get you a new one. You’re my kind of special lady.

There’s a certain subset of skeeze at work here, and it’s not the overt sexuality you might expect – it’s sort of a dorky come-on, and while the implications of sex are still clear, we’ll need a few more rounds of fruity island drinks before we get there. Because let’s face it – nobody wants to go to bed with anybody they can see clearly at this office retreat, right?

I don’t know. The music’s not bad, I guess, but it doesn’t really change all that much. It’s music for middle-aged losers, made by two guys who are clearly not middle aged. Why they’re getting a head start on this is beyond me. Maybe they’re the guys at work who are in charge of event planning. But no, no they’re not. They can’t be. They just can’t be. And I’m at the end of this tape, and there wasn’t much movement, so there it is, strike five, you’re out, Wild Cow. You get a lukewarm review. Hey, could’ve been worse!

--Ryan Masteller