“SYSC will take over, so get on board or get out of their way.” Seeyouspacecowboy spread their wings and shed their demons on magnificent new album Coup De Grâce

With album three, San Diego’s up-and-comers haven’t just jumped from introspective lyrics to apocalyptic fantasy – they’ve escaped their metalcore constraints along the way

SeeYouSpaceCowboy in 2024
(Image: © Errick Easterday)

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We thought we knew Seeyouspacecowboy by now. Since debuting in 2019, the San Diego darlings have been a raw yet melodic collective, straddling the barriers between screamo, mathcore and post-hardcore. But new album Coup De Grâce opens with a minute of swooning sax and twinkling piano. From the get-go, all bets are off here.

It becomes an aptly different-sounding start, though, when you consider how much change there’s been within the SYSC camp over the past couple of years. Horrifically, singer and co-founder Connie Sgarbossa attempted suicide after finishing the quintet’s previous album, 2021’s The Romance Of Affliction, but has since abandoned recreational drugs. In turn, her lyrics have transformed from explorations of personal strife to fantasies about dancing your problems away as the world ends.

Even more immediately audible are the personnel shifts behind the scenes. SYSC are still rounded out by guitarist/vocalist (and Connie’s brother) Ethan Sgarbossa, co-guitarist Tim Moreno, bassist Taylor Allen and drummer AJ Tartol, yet Coup De Grâce is produced by Matt Squire. Squire replaces Romance… dial-twiddlers Isaac Hale (guitarist of Knocked Loose) and Matt Guglielmo, and – having previously produced Panic! At The Disco’s breakthrough debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out – helps push the up-and-comers from savage “sasscore” to impressively irresistible and genre-smashing scope.

After the aforementioned lounge music of opener Allow Us To Set The Scene, Subtle Whispers To Take Your Breath Away pulls influence from indie rock to make for a bouncing dance-metal anthem. Connie’s vocals are, instantly, the best they’ve ever sounded, just as proficient in your typical hardcore snarls as more vibrant emo-pop croons. The deluge of melodies she sings are seemingly a push for broader appeal, but with the ferocious breakdowns of And The Two Slipped Into The Shadows and Silhouettes In Motion, it’s an evolution as opposed to an abandonment of principles.

The star-studded array of guest performers only reaffirms SYSC’s stratospheric potential. Spiritbox’s Courtney LaPlante duets with Connie during To The Dancefloor For Shelter: a scrambling yet romantic post-hardcore piece that sounds like The Callous Daoboys broke into Paramore’s rehearsal room. Meanwhile, on Lubricant Like Kerosene, Tiktok sensation Kim Dracula stands as the melodic counterpoint to Connie’s apoplectic screams, before the pair unite for a chorus that gracefully soars sky-high.

Seeyouspacecowboy are still Seeyouspacecowboy. Coup De Grâce boasts more than enough rampant hardcore to prove that point. Yet this is fury with purpose, and that purpose, realised by crystalline production, tasteful guest spots and a plethora of addictive melodies, seems to be snatching the heavy metal brass ring. SYSC will take over, so get on board or get out of their way.

Coup De Grâce is out on April 19 via Pure Noise. Seeyouspacecowboy are currently touring North America with Better Lovers, Foreign Hands and Greyhaven.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.