Review by Rick Ossian
Here they come, screaming out of the South side – not the deep south of the United States, as you might imagine after a few listens of their first slab, but rather South Wales (Neath/Swansea, to be more precise). You will forgive me for recognizing a distinct Black Crowes vibe here, especially on Down To The River (you can watch the video on YouTube by clicking on the song title), lead-off track She’s All Natural, and March of the Buffalo. If I had to pigeonhole Buffalo Summer, I would have to resort to Classic Rock or Southern Rock. BS call themselves ‘feel good Rock ‘n’ Roll, which I could also agree on. But then let’s forego the question of genres for a moment – who are Buffalo Summer, really? Personnel wise, they are Jonny Williams on guitar, Andrew Hunt on vocals, Darren King on bass and Gareth Hunt on drums. They’ve already opened for Skid Row, Ugly Kid Joe, Walking Papers (Duff McKagan‘s new outfit) and Heavens Basement. They’ve also played Download 2013. So, they’re evidently on their way. By the by, they are also touring with Kadavar in the U.K. as we speak.
Every one of these tracks is of practically radio-friendly length (3-4 minutes, no real exceptions to speak of). Each track also comes roundly equipped with a spicy guitar solo about half-way through the tune, and some pretty solid riffing in general. The vocals are superb throughout, and the only thing I can really say in criticism is that it’s not long enough! I keep wanting to hear extra tracks, or even extended versions. If this lot is an indication, then we have indeed more to look forward to.
Truth From Fable should probably be called ‘Then Again’, as those are the principal words/lyrics throughout. Horse Called Freedom is a backwoods stomper, complete with Johnny Colt (Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynyrd)-esque licks and fills. I am reminded of barn dances/hootenannys/jamborees from my sordid past! Rolls (Right) On Through has a good groove to it, and slows down just a hair — but for the only time on the whole recording. These cats are definitely uptempo when it comes to timing. There are some laid-back Southern drawls, if you will, but not so’s you’d notice it.
Ain’t No Other is slightly perplexing – I’m torn between wondering if she is/was the singer’s girlfriend or his drug dealer (“she don’t sell no more”). She is a ‘kickback undercover/never be another’, so I suppose she could be both. There is some heavier riffing here, and some good solid vocal work. March of the Buffalo is another solid-riffing number, definitely with that Black Crowes vibe mentioned above, only heavier. They can ‘never get enough’, as in the refrain, and I’m leaning towards land to roam on as the stuff they can never get enough of. “There ain’t no horizons/as we walk through the valley below/Back inside they stumble/ And still they got no place to call their own”. Roaming, indeed. Buffalo are a right rare sight around these parts, but as you might imagine, before the ‘thinning of the herds’, millions roamed the Midwestern praries. Very sad, but fodder for a killer tune.
Keep On Runnin’ features an even heavier riff, and open-tuned flourishes in the guitar figures, a la Zakk Wylde on, oh I don’t know, EVERY Ozzy song he plays on! Typhoid Mary has more of a 70’s psychedelic feel/groove to it, and Ol’ Duke is another stomper, featuring the old ‘yeah yeah’ in the refrain. Maybe they ran out of words. To put it bluntly, if you enjoy good old Southern/Classic rock with a 70’s feel, then you may very well enjoy Buffalo Summer! Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do!