Buddies, the duo offering from songwriters Frank Turner and Jon Snodgrass, contains ten songs, nine of which were written in one evening on the latter's back porch in Colorado. Its brief 24-minute length makes it more an EP than an album. The entire set was recorded direct to four-track over four hours the following day. To say that this offering sounds informal is an understatement. It's downright ragged; depending on your opinion of what's here, that's either part of its charm, or, well, something else. There is plenty of between-song banter by the pair, and some of it is actually entertaining. "Styx: The Man, The Band" is little more than a title with some quickly tossed-off chords, while "Susannah" is a song about the key of "C," because Turner refused to play a love song in any but that one. The opening title track, co-written back in 2009, intentionally paraphrases the lyrics from "Luckenbach, Texas" in its first verse in homage to their musician friends, and is easily the best thing here. "Ballad of Steve" features some of Turner's quickest, turn-on-a-dime freestyle rhyme schemes. "Old Fast Songs" is an acoustic punk song that seems, in its humorous way, to deride "modern" punks, though the irony that Turner was among their ranks not all that long ago appears lost on him. Snodgrass' convincing country and blues influences are felt prominently on "New Orleansy." "Mo'squitoz" employs the use of a cheap drum machine to establish a "groove," but is a complete drunken throwaway with some very loose, spontaneous rhyming by Turner. The appeal of Buddies, to any but the most devoted of Turner and Snodgrass fans is highly debatable; it most certainly doesn’t need to be heard more than once. It is also proof than not every idea needs to be committed to tape, or, if it does, it isn’t necessarily meant for public consumption.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek