Buffalo Killers


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When they were in Thee Shams, Andy Gabbard and Zach Gabbard played music that was firmly rooted in the sounds of the mid-'60s, but with their third album, their band Buffalo Killers has moved bravely into the early '70s, and they sound right at home there. Buffalo Killers 3 suggests a meeting of the minds between Crazy Horse and the James Gang during a few mellow days in Laurel Canyon, and if you didn't read the credits or look at the copyright date, many listeners would never guess this music was recorded in the 21st century. While there isn't much here that suggests a shameless rip-off of any artist in particular, 3 conjures up a sense of time and place with ease, and the loose, sun-burnt vibe of this music, fused with Andy's fluid but forceful guitar work, Zach's simple but effective basslines, and Joey Sebaali's colorful percussion work drifts between country-rock and hard rock in a way that suggests the strengths of both without hitching itself to either. Lyrically, the Killers don't have a whole lot to say, but the melodies are fine stuff and the band plays with a seasoned air of musical intuition, knowing where to fill the spaces and how to make the most of their power trio format. Joining the Killers on their journey through the past are Kelley Deal, Brian Olive, and James Leg, but even if this is a very Ohio-centric cast of characters, this music has a rich West Coast feel, and in this case, that's a good thing. Buffalo Killers 3 finds this band easing into an comfortable but deep groove, and not many bands have mined a late hippie-era approach with more satisfying results.

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