According to Google Maps, it takes 12 hours 28 minutes to drive the 859.2 miles from Austin, Texas, home to the splendid Southern Gothic skewed Americana rock of Lord Buffalo, to Nashville, Tennessee. This gives an average speed of over 68mph. Doesn’t that mean you’d be breaking the national speed limit all the way? What do they think this is, the Confederacy? You may wonder why this is relevant: well, Nashville is home to the more well known All Them Witches, a band you may even have heard of. Lord Buffalo and All Them Witches inhabit the same louche, devil-may-care rock’n’roll universe, and much like their cousins from Nashville, Lord Buffalo make a steamily gorgeous and effortless wide open rawk that can only put a smile on your strained fizzog in these worrying times.
Opening track Raziel fades in like an approaching dust storm, dark and inevitable, on the back of Patrick Patterson’s mournful violin, over a distant howling miasma of sound. The singer, one Daniel Pruitt, has a fabulously indecipherable southern drawl that lends the affair an entirely appropriate Gothic sleaziness, stomped on by a short-lasting riff, that fades in and out of the maelstrom. A similar atmosphere broods in the face of broiling thunderheads on the lurching menace of Wild Hunt. The instrumentation takes on an indigenous war dance throughout the worshipful Halle Berry, and Mr Pruitt mentions “crawling on her hands and knees”, but that’s about as much as I can make out. I’m sure it’s quite dirty under those fingernails. The band describe themselves on their Facebook page as “mud folk”, “forêt noir”, and, my favourite, “crappalachian butt rock”, and who are we to disagree?
That endless arid Texas landscape with its unfathomably huge skies must have a strange effect on the locals, and so the album seems to teeter on the edge of a madness with which The Bad Seeds, natives of a similarly unrelenting hinterland, have also had more than a casual affair. The shamanic and unrelenting title track is a case in point. The album’s instrumentation is often enlivened by Mr Patterson’s raucous violin, scraping away like a life depended on it. Such is the interjection into the otherwise balladic Kenosis.
There are no stars on this record, and no soloing, it’s a group ethic. Just to underline that point, beyond their names, there is a perceived anonymity to their public profile, which may or may not be intentional. The group publicity photos are suitably no-nonsense, but this is a band that deserve your attention, even if it appears that they do not seek it.
01. Raziel (7:00)
02. Wild Hunt (5:59)
03. Halle Berry (3:46)
04. Dog Head (3:49)
05. Tohu Wa Bohu (6:27)
06. Kenosis (6:58)
07. Heart of the Snake (2:49)
08. Llano Estacado No. 2 (4:06)
Total Time – 40:54
Daniel Pruitt – Vocals, Guitar, Bass Guitar
Garrett Hellman – Guitar, Organs, Moog Sub-Bass
Patrick Patterson – Violin
Yamal Said – Percussion
Record Label: Blues Funeral Recordings
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 27th March 2020