Thursday, May 16, 2013

Buffalo Killers - Ohio Grass - A Great Play For A Summer Day

EPs are the new old way of doing things. Not as satisfying as a full length, but a mouthwatering treat if properly applied, and Buffalo Killers have nailed it with their latest release, Ohio Grass.

In the interim between 2012's Dig. Sew. Love. Grow., and the band's next foray into the studio for a full album, they've chosen record day to gift their loyals with a tasty six song nugget that shows the band still growing, and still mining the deep roots of their rich musical heritage. While they remain the same seventies steeped stoners they've been for several years, they also are expanding their horizons with side dishes of Beatlesesque pop, and some Jamaican flavor added to the mix, resulting in an ever tastier stew.

Pressed on 'herb green' vinyl, the 12" EP continues the saga of the Gabbard brothers and drummer Joseph Sebaali - born and raised on a steady diet of seventies rock by their musical father, the brothers have that Phil and Don genetic chemistry that makes their harmonies incredibly rich, and as players, they are getting better with each outing.

Baptized starts things off with some soulful a cappella vocalizing before Andy Gabbard throws down some of the coolest sounding mid-period Stones tones that I have ever heard. He cranks out a delightful wah-drenched solo that sees Sebaali playing in a looser, swinging style that prods the guitarist on into some multi-tracked psychedelic madness. If this is baptism, sign me up.

Next is Nothing Can Bring Me Down, and it continues the band's legacy of channeling The James Gang via CSN&Y circa 2013. The Gabbards have voices that were made to sing, and they've found a sound and style that works perfectly for their instruments. These great pop nuggets seem to just pop out whenever this bunch writes, and there's no cocaine problems to cripple their climb. Keeping it green - hell yes.

Grow Your Own harkens back to the days of Mountain and Woodstock as Zach fuzzes up his bass line and it weighs in like a brontosaurus on this one until brother Andy brings in an acoustic interlude that breaks up the din nicely. Going back in time can be such a cool trip when it's done so well - the Gabbards seem to have completely missed the cynicism and negativity that nearly drowned rock in the nineties and the first decade of this millennium. Go back to the source and grow your own.

The band heads down to Jamaica for track four - Golden Eagle is a reggae jam that saunters nicely through the smoke, and they don't make the mistake of going too Rasta, they still manage to retain their melodic bent - they even throw in some nice psychedelics soaked background vocals, and Sebaali, once the keyboardist in an earlier iteration of the band's development, seems to be becoming a better drummer with each song. I do wish there was some more sizzle to the drum sound here, but the playing is top notch.

Hold You Me comes and goes pleasantly enough, but it's clearly the weakest track here, perhaps cursed by being surrounded by such an otherwise stellar collection. If this is as close as we get to filler from this bunch, we should remain mightily pleased.

I thought for a minute we were getting an instrumental when I heard the cinematic, half surf/half soundtrack intro to Some Other Kind, then a verse comes that evokes memories of Mystery Tours and Lonely Hearts Clubs - yes, the boys encroach upon the fab four for a wonderful tune that may be their best yet. In any case, it's a great way to wrap up up a great snack until we get the next Buffalo Killers album, and a perfect soundtrack or a Summer's day drive.

I hear that some green vinyl is still available at - the band only pressed 700, and they are soon to be collectors' items, so get them while they last.

Thanks to Buffalo Killers, and Tony Bonyata at Pavement PR,

No comments: