This cosmic cowboy is more grounded on his latest release.
Brooklyn’s Dougie Poole’s previous albums cast him as a bit of a cosmic cowboy with a twinkle in his eye and a wry sense of humour. ‘The Rainbow Wheel Of Death’, his third release, is a much more sober affair, some of it composed when he took up a job as a computer programmer when Covid put a stop to his performing. Recorded pretty much live with his band in his producer’s parents’ house, the album has a warm and intimate feel with traditional instruments such as pedal steel mingling with sympathetic synthesised sounds while Poole can sound as if he were a long-lost cousin of Mike Nesmith.
The album opens with the title song, a kaleidoscopic romp which could easily have found room on Jerry Garcia’s first solo album. The title refers to the spinning logo Mac users encounter when their computer stalls and Poole uses this as a metaphor for that sense of life being on hold when we were all locked down. Having said that, it’s an upbeat and optimistic number. ‘High School Gym’ then turns up the synths a notch on a nostalgia-soaked reverie which is quite hypnotic as the rhythm section power through with a metronomic precision.
Thereafter, the album settles down somewhat into a more traditional delivery. ‘Nothing On This Earth Can Make Me Smile’ is a gorgeously feathery song while ‘Worried Man Blues 2′ and ‘Nickels And Dimes’ hark back to country rock staples from the seventies ranging from James Taylor to Neil Young. Poole goes the whole country rock hog on the rollicking ‘Beth David Cemetery’ transforming a trip to the family cemetery into a joyous occasion, this paradox partly explained by the preceding ‘I Lived my Whole Life Last Night’ which finds Poole in a philosophical mood, ruminating on his mortality. The Sisyphean task of trying to find the unfindable fuels the gorgeous ‘Must Be In Here Somewhere’, a ballad with a strong Lennon-like melancholy in its undertow. Meanwhile, the closing song, ‘I Hope My Baby Comes Home Soon’, has layers upon layers of sadness and regret woven within it with Poole sounding like a forlorn Gene Autry as a tearful pedal steel weeps away.