Michah Shnabel, lead singer for Two Cow Garage, sings as if he has Paul Westerberg perpetually stuck in his throat. And that’s meant as the ultimate compliment for the Midwest band. As Schnabel sings “Waking up to cassette tapes and ashtrays all filled from the night before” on the opening “Humble Narrator,” his cigarette-stained and whiskey-washed voice seems to perfectly recall the chaotic desperation that made Westerberg and The Replacements such a legendary band when they exploded out of Minneapolis in the 1980s.
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Two Cow Garage’s music has that same desperate, hanging-by-a-thread, frantic quality that The Replacements possessed, but balanced against a subtle alt-country feel that is true to its Midwest roots, at times channeling Illinois’ born and bred Uncle Tupelo.
Speaking in Cursive, the band’s fourth album, may just be its best and could propel it from fringe band on the verge of something big, to a band that has done something big. While Cursive has its tender moments, “Swing set Assassin” and “The Heart and the Crown,” it is not meant for quiet listening. With its pounding drums; big, barreling guitars; and large, over-the-top choruses, it is an album that is meant too be listened to cranked to 10, with a house full of friends, a fridge full of beers and the cops on the way.
Speaking in Cursive is out now on Suburban Home Records.