Riverboat Gamblers


SXSW Records

Riverboat Gamblers

Underneath the Owl (Volcom Entertainment)

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. This wouldn't be of issue if the songs reached out and grabbed you, but ear worms are in short supply here. Designated hitter "A Choppy, yet Sincere Apology" is an undistinguished, almost perfunctory genre exercise that fails to leave a mark. The steel-guitar-infused balladry of "The Tearjerker" and the herky-jerk vibraphone on "Robots May Break Your Heart" are slight departures that don't hold up under scrutiny. While "Catastrophe" and "Keep Me from Drinking" hint at something more feral, there's little on this album to suggest what the Gamblers are capable of in the flesh. (Fri., Buffalo Billiards, 12mid; Sat., Emo's Annex, 1am.)


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