Kue Varo and the Only Hopes Dodge the Expected on 'Cowboy Witchcraft'

Exclaim! Staff Picks

BY Kaelen BellPublished Nov 16, 2023

A name like Cowboy Witchcraft conjures images of gothic country rock — gauzy gowns and black ten gallon hats, tumbleweeds rolling through the shadows and quiet fires burning in the desert. Kue Varo and her dust-swirling Only Hopes sidestep all these obvious motifs for something a little more playful. Though it's driven by country music's shit-kicking energy, Cowboy Witchcraft dips in and out of traditional country sounds with a free spirited disregard for the expected. "Yip Yip" finds Varo at the helm of a country road song, but opener "Furthest Place" is tightly wound synth rock, "Feelin' Lucky" sees Varo free falling through some surf-inflected indie rock and "Be Careful" is a steadily rolling treatise on forgiveness and growth. It's a bright, lighter-than-air record that chases the light at every turn. 


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