By: John Wirt
Future Cowboys co-stars New Orleans singer-songwriter-actor Jamie Bernstein (Preacher, Scream Queens) and his New York collaborators Eren Cannata and Miguel Oliveira. The trio recorded the six-song EP, Going Kamikaze, in New Orleans; Sagaponack, New York; and Beverly Hills, California.
Going Kamikaze expands Bernstein’s Americana songwriting through hip-hop and electronic music techniques. The anthemic quality of some songs alludes to such arena-rock acts as U2, but much less bombastic. Unfortunately, nearly all of the Going Kamikaze songs come off as truncated. Four of the EP’s tracks are under four minutes long and two run less than three minutes.
Opening song “This One Time” falls into that nebulous musical realm known as Americana. In conversational style, Bernstein sings the role of sincere protagonist, portraying a man who’s determined, at last, to extract what he wants from life. In “Choose,” echoey production envelopes Bernstein’s brooding lyrics. Churchy organ, ricocheting percussion and sharply minimal guitar figures accompany Bernstein’s low and gritty vocals. He sings longingly about a brief encounter that may or may not lead to a lasting relationship.
“Work for the Week” is another song of strife. Cannata, who has production and recording credit for the EP, gives the song a spare but burnished sheen—resonating chain-gang rhythms complement the chant-like lyrics. “I gotta make a living so I’m taking what they giving. Oh, boy, don’t break your back, moving that old railroad track. If you don’t work, you can’t eat.”
“I Fight Alone” also deals in struggle, evoking the haunted ’70s and ’80s goth-rock of Joy Division, Peter Murphy and Bauhaus. Given the acting work that Bernstein and, to a lesser degree, Cannata do, the cinematic production “I Fight Alone” receives fits the scene the lyrics set well.
Clocking in at two-and-a-half minutes, “The Flame” ends the EP in hymn-like Americana style. A shift in instrumentation to acoustic piano and steel guitar, however, casts “The Flame” incongruously apart from the bigger productions that precede it.
At this point, Future Cowboys is a work in progress, but Bernstein, Cannata and Oliveira demonstrate major potential.