It’s been said many times before (I’ve probably already said it in print once or twice already) that Two Cow Garage is one of the hardest working bands to call Columbus home. So it comes as sort of a surprise when singer (and guitarist) Micah Schnabel laments, “I should have gone to college and made a lot of money” on “Should’ve California,” a song appearing midway through the band’s new album, III. He and his bandmates, bassist Shane Sweeney and drummer Dustin Harigle, have given the whole rock ‘n’ roll thing one hell of a college try–and in half the time of most groups. Since releasing their debut, Please Turn the Gas Back On in 2002, they’ve been plying their trade all over God’s green earth. But one gets the sense on this, their succinctly titled third record, that these mid-20-somethings did some questioning about their lot in life and whether or not all the time spent in the van is still worth it. In addition to the shoulda-woulda-coulda themes of the aforementioned track, on “No Shame” Schnabel states, “There ain’t no shame in just giving up and walking away.”
The irony, of course, is that Two Cow has just released the strongest record of its career. Along with the soul-searching, the band has brought together the sonic strains of their debut and its successor, Wall Against Our Back, the former’s twang and the latter’s bombast held together with Midwestern grit. With some nice touches, like keys and horns, III is a fully formed studio endeavor while also sounding fervent enough that you can almost smell the stale beer. So while to the Two Cow boys it may seem like they’re spinning their wheels, it’s pretty apparent that they’re moving forward.