Buffalo Killers

Let It Ride

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The Buffalo Killers narrow their range and sharpen their sights for their sophomore set. Riding roughshod over R&B in a distinctly late-'60s/early-'70s vein, the trio creates an album that's mostly downbeat and bad-tempered. That's evident from the get-go, as the band launches into the anti-unity "Get Together Now Today," a song that musically nods to both the Rolling Stones and Cream. That number sets the stage for the rest of the set, with its midtempo rhythms, murky production, and down-and-dirty delivery. The title track is even more ramshackle, deliberately so in order to capture the jammy feel of the period, while "It's a Shame" is so intense that one could swear it was recorded live -- except it wasn't. The production blurs the edges of all the tracks, suggesting the band is either trying to re-create the muddy sound of period bootlegs, or has spent too much time listening to them. Either way, it gives Let It Ride a surprising authenticity, even when the Killers occasionally wander into other fields. "Give and Give," for example, features bright harmonies and lustrous acoustic guitar, bringing a touch of '60s folk to the set, while "Heart in Your Hand" tips a hat to the California scene. "On the Prowl," in contrast, stalks around a honky tonk. Yet even these excursions fold R&B into the brew, while other numbers are tinged with psychedelia or -- in the case of "Black Paper" -- prog rock, with the vocals adding a touch of glam to the mix. The lyrics are awash in melancholy, with loneliness strewn throughout the set and lyrics that suggest the bandmembers are grappling to express inexplicable emotions. The strong melodies and occasional anthemic choruses, however, act as a counterweight for a heavy set of hard rock delights.

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