Buffalo Killers “Alive And Well In Ohio” (Alive Records, 2017)

This is the BK’s eighth record and it was self-produced in their own studio, so there’s no one else to blame. It’s not an inch away from their usual muddied fuzzy sound. They indistinctly reference classic rock and classic country rock, and they’d probably kill to be likened to Crazy Horse but their default sound is a kind of Claymation version of that music. Where Crazy Horse will often soar, with them it never leaves the ground: it’s heavy where it doesn’t need to be and obscured where it should be clear.

Even when the clouds clear as on Eastern Tiger where they sound not unlike Radar Brothers with acoustic guitars, the urge to add a rumble of electric guitar is too tempting to resist. Indeed they often sound like a frustrated Metal band reluctantly taking a Country gig and trying to smuggle in some Sabbath – see Need A Changin’ for details. Then they go and spoil it all by sounding something like Steely Dan on the more thoughtful Evil Thoughts.

They’re not a bad band, they just don’t seem to be able to progress and to develop unlike contemporaries like The Drive-By Truckers. It’s kind of weird hearing the Beatles attempting this kind of music, there is a Beatles fixation at the heart of some songs, there is something. Outta This Hotel threatens to expose the melodies but settles for obfuscation and a guitar break that sounds like it’s wandered in from the studio next door. They are close to something good but never quite manage to get through a whole song without something going awry.

Author: David Cowling

Punk rock, Go-Betweens, REM, Replacments, Husker Du, Minutemen, Will Oldham, Smog, Whiskeytown, Ass Ponys but probably most of all Howe Gelb, led me on this journey.

Leave a comment..