Damn fine smoking bliss out grooves is in abundance on the second full length from Cincinnati trio Buffalo Killers. Having just completed a short stateside tour with the Black Keys and with planned prestige support slots with the Black Crowes scheduled in the fall, ’Let it ride’ is the bearded ones follow up to 2006’s self titled debut full length – which annoyingly we appear to have missed.
Blending lazy eyed chilled blues motifs, Southern breeze accents and softly woven psychedelics, Buffalo Killers sound like they’ve woken from a prolonged acid induced coma and in so doing have missed the musical landscape changes of the last 35 years, their collective heads still tuned into an era still recovering from the Altamont fall out, Easy Rider and the whole latent counter culture vibe and the Vietnam war.
Blessed with some superbly exquisite production by Dan Auerbach at Akron Analog, ’Let it ride’ is pristinely crafted in a decadent retro vibe that seriously wouldn’t look amiss amid a record collection boasting a garage / rock / psych purists smattering of key late 60’s and early 70’s recordings. Freewheeling between a melodic tapestry that’s as equally at home carving out mellowing AOR nuggets (as on the middle America embracing ’heart in your hand’ and ’give and give’ which to these ears sounds like a shyly retiring Buffalo Springfield shimmying with Guns ’n’ Roses) and bitching blues grinds (as on the upbeat power driven boot stomping pedal to floor road blues beauty ’on the prowl’ with its drop dead cool Stones riffage or the subtly sexually charged Zeppelin like ’it’s a shame’ with its bourbon soaked gridlocked grinds and impeccably distilled Detroit garage flair), Buffalo Killers may just have turned up the trump card with ‘Let it ride‘.
Reference points are obvious – between the lazy hazy grooves you’ll hear the aural apparitions of Cream, Neil Young (Buffalo Springfield) and Mountain swirling and echoing in the mountain range breezes, yet scratch a little deeper and the unmistakable undercurrent of laid back blues dialects hint towards an overt fondness and admiration of Zeppelin’s first opus – none more so is this the case on the aforementioned ’it’s a shame’ and ’take me back home’(a proto ‘misty mountain hop‘ killer – yes we know it was from Zep‘s ‘IV‘ before you all start writing in complaining).
Elsewhere the gorgeously wrapped sultry mirages of feel good vibes work on the nervous system like some super potent prozac and seem a tad restricted from the comfort of a hi-fi appraisal rather more you’d feel better served finding a beaten up convertible throwing down its hood and letting rip through an endless horizon of wide open picturesque freeway. Case in point the hip grinding sexuality that literally seeps from ’if I get myself anywhere’ – a sumptuous honky tonking road blues babe that nibbles at the Faces while ’leave the sun behind’ is just simply classy – a moon shining and mooching cutie that slithers and side winds amid flotillas of countrified pines, its warm like radiating cruise controlled casualness deftly set upon the driving southern styled motifs casting a strangely trippy hue to the proceedings. ’Black paper’ wraps up the set superbly with its softly bathed 60’s speckled lysergic psyche mindset – best described as imagining Baby Woodrose freebasing on Free.
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