The Buttertones “Gravedigging ” (Innovative Leisure, 2017)

Well, at last here’s an album with plenty of twang – of course in this case it’s the treble high guitar twang of a surf band, given a somewhat harder edge with a heavy dose of Garage Rock.  An album like Gravediggin’ is what results when you’ve spent too much time listening to Dick Dale and the original Nuggets collection in regular rotation. The Buttertones are neck deep in the music – to the extent that they sound more like original practitioners rather than those just adopting a pose.  Hell – they are original practitioners, they just turned up a few years behind the crowd.

As befits a wild rocking sound, shot through with stabs of saxophone and clamorous vocals forever on the edge of being totally lost to any control, the topics for the songs are suitably technicolor in nature. Quite rightly there is no room for subtlety on a song like Two-headed Shark – “it comes in waves almost every day keeps / eating my food and drinking my booze / and it won’t go away” – and Pistol Whip, with it’s Clash-like main riff – is just a journey into trouble “lets go for a ride you and I / taking more time / just one of those nights to get pistol whipped / got me right between the eyes”.  Neon Cowboy pounds along like a ghost rider in the sky, whilst Geisha’s Gaze adds an air of mystery, like a thirties spy movie.

This is the soundtrack to a memorable party, a warm evening, a darkened venue, and an endless supply of alcohol is encapsulated within the eleven songs. It’s fun – like the B-52s – it’s true to its inspiration – like label mates Allah-Las – but most importantly, it sounds great.

Author: Jonathan Aird

Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan’s music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That’s not much to ask, is it?

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