Alive Naturalsound Records [Release date 20.10.17]
Honest, consistent and true to themselves and their inspirations, the Buffalo Killers have been spinning their mazy blend of spacey, psychedelic Americana over seven albums to-date and number eight, “Alive and Well in Ohio” continues that trend to good effect.
Still maintaining that jangly ‘60s feel that was so prevalent in the “San Francisco sound” promulgated by the likes of CSNY and the Byrds, the Buffalo Killers’ brotherly driving force of Zachary and Andrew Gabbard still manage to produce easy-on-the-ear ditties which have seen them secure coveted (and very logical) support slots to bands like The Black Crowes, North Mississippi All Stars and The Black Keys.
Tracks like “Easy Tiger” and “Parachute” have a very British Invasion-era pop feel to them – not sure if that’s intended or a by-product of where their influences have led them thus far but it works. “Need-a-Changin” has more of an MC-5 protest-blues flavor whilst “On Out” is built around a more earthy, straight-forward riff and slide combination.
That’s the beauty of a genre like Americana – it can justifiably accommodate everything from a country-twang (“Rad Day”) to a lazy-late-summer-afternoon acoustic jaunt (“Applehead Creek”) and the trippy (“Evil Thoughts”).
Vocally powerful and even in parts Beach Boys-reminiscent, the Buffalo Killers would have played seven hour shows starting at midnight had they been around in the late-‘60s.
Sticking to their guns and not being hampered by external pressures of any kind are characteristics that always bring me back to the Buffalo Killers. They will appeal to a fairly niche market but surely deserve to dominate that space given their consistent and honest output over a decade…staying power that is well-deserved.
I’m sure the band must do well in certain liberal leaning States like Colorado and several others where the good herb has finally joined basil and thyme as legally available products – to be clear, no such herbs were abused in the writing of this review and it’s still a cracking album – just imagine… ****
Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
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