Buffalo

Only Want You for Your Body

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Australian quartet Buffalo's third long-player in as many years, 1974's Only Want You for Your Body found them honing their songwriting into far more focused and compact heavy rock nuggets, in a natural progression from first album Dead Forever's oftentimes trippy, post-psych meanderings and second album Volcanic Rock's even mix of lengthy jams and piledriving proto-metal. If anything, for what they lacked in terms of timelessly savage riffing (see Volcanic Rock's "Sunrise" and "Shylock"), new barnstormers like the leering "I'm a Skirt Lifter Not a Shirt Raiser," the comparatively well-behaved "Stay with Me," and the head-nodding chug-groove monster single "What's Going On" (which set a template abused by literally dozens of '90s stoner rock bands) were arguably more well-rounded band performances. Meanwhile, the churning, mid-paced advance of "I'm Coming On" points to the band's undisguised Black Sabbath influence, right down to Pete Wells' busy bass guitar and Jimmy Economou's fierce pounding behind the kit -- even though it was a Ten Years After cover. And the borderline space rock of "Dune Messiah" (based on the famous sci-fi books by Frank Herbert) also provides a bit of thematic variety to Dave Tice's oftentimes brazenly sexual lyrics, which he delivered, as always, with gritty, echo-laden vocals. At the end of the day, though, it was always John Baxter's wildly distorted six-string that gave Buffalo their distinctively forceful signature compared to the competition, both at home and abroad. And although he wasn't allowed to run rampant here as he had all over the mostly "live in the studio" Volcanic Rock, Baxter still drove the locomotive for all of the above, and was eventually given a chance to stretch on the groupie chronicle "King's Cross Ladies" and the politically apocalyptic "United Nations" -- both of them album standouts. Sure enough, with the guitarist's shocking and ill-advised sacking following the tour supporting Only Want You for Your Body, the seeds of Buffalo's career decline were effectively sowed, as they attempted (unsuccessfully) to score a more commercial hit single on a subsequent pair of poorly received LPs. As a result, Only Want You for Your Body is seen as the last chapter of the Buffalo story that modern fans of classic hard rock and heavy metal need bother "reading."

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