The Callous Daoboys – ‘God Smiles Upon the Callous Daoboys’

By Ash Bebbington

It probably goes without saying that The Callous Daoboys aren’t a band that demand to be taken completely seriously. Even if you’ve never heard a note of their music, their name alone – a spoonerised take on the NFL team the Dallas Cowboys – probably give you a bit of a hint as to what to expect. That’s not to say that this is a joke band though, far from it. The American sextet released their breakthrough record ‘Celebrity Therapist’ in 2022 to widespread critical and fan acclaim.

That album took inspiration from chaotic hardcore genre stalwarts such as the Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge while adding genre-bending sections and lyrics that are often funny, and almost always tongue-in-cheek. To simply say that this band is a lot of fun feels like damning them with faint praise. They are a hell of a lot of fun to listen to, but they’re also extremely accomplished technical musicians, with an evidently wide array of influences that they bring into their music. These diverse influences, and their willingness to bring them into their music regardless of whether they’re traditionally fused with hardcore or not, makes them one of the most interesting and unique bands in a genre that is extremely difficult to stand out in.

‘God Smiles Upon the Callous Daoboys’ is the first new music the Georgians have released since ‘Celebrity Therapist’ last year. With only three tracks, and clocking in at less than 15 minutes in length, this EP offers a tantalising glimpse of where one of the most inventive bands in heavy music may go next. If this is any indication, fans are in for a treat. The music on here is heavier, wackier, and more fun than anything the Daoboys have put out before.

Opener ‘Pushing the Pink Envelope’ wastes little time, jumping into a maelstrom of riffs and screaming – cut through with some spooky sounding synths. The track then makes a series of abrupt heel turns, as it morphs into a relaxed, almost lounge-esque part before jumping into a pacy electronic section, and then a straight ahead rock segment with soaring vocal hooks. All of this occurs in around 30 seconds, and it’s a testament to the band’s songwriting craft that it never feels forced or disjointed.

Lead single ‘Waco Jesus’ opens with a crushing metallic riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on an extreme metal record. Barring a few quick pit stops at a more melodic sound, the song largely continues along the same trajectory, building towards a chorus with a towering riff.

‘Designer Shroud of Turin’ is an example of the Callous Daoboys at their brilliant best, featuring snapshots of soulful blues rock, experimental jazz, hip hop and, most notably, a samba section. The latter is so unexpected and ridiculous it’ll bring a smile to your face every time you hear it. Primarily though, this is a heavy track, featuring all of the jagged guitar sections and screamed vocals fans of the band have come to expect.

‘God Smiles Upon the Callous Daoboys’ is a superb EP, and one that will leave you pining for more. Every track is an absolute winner, and the fifteen or so minutes it takes you to listen to them all will pass by in the blink of an eye. The Daoboys have emphatically proven that ‘Celebrity Therapist’ was no one-off, and that they have many more ideas in the tank that are even more bizarre and incredible than what’s come before. Fingers crossed that we won’t have to wait too long for their next full-length release. Off the back of these songs, it won’t be one to miss.

ASH BEBBINGTON

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