CD REVIEW: The Buffalo Crows - Black Tooth Grin
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: The Buffalo Crows
CD: Black Tooth Grin
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Rock n’ Roll, R&B, Jam Band, Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: AC/DC, Nick Cave, Crazy Horse, Airborne, Grinderman
Technical Grade: 6/10
Weakness: A few winded songs, Short Sided CD, Engineering Aspects( Recording, Mixing, Mastering)
Australian basedband Buffalo Crows just released their latest release entitled Black Tooth Grin in 2013. Buffalo Crows came to the top of the rise and surveyed the land before them. It was green and verdant. They saw that it was good. A new dawn rose. Birds tweeted. Cows gamboled on the lush plains below. A vision of rampaging guitars and wild, soulful harmonica came to them. They went down to the valley to play. Read more...A mixture of heavy, blues rock and acoustic rock ballads. Deep, soulful vocals and emotive lyrics. Influenced by Crazy Horse Howling Wolf, Motorhead, Tex Perkins and Nick Cave.
The CD kicks things off into high gear with intro piece “Dark Lord Rising” a grinding guitar driven groove meshed against thick as a brick driving rock rhythm, emotionally charged vocal delivery from Crowfoot against slamming harmonica solo. Track 2 “Turn to Stone” shifts gears a bit serving up another rock steady ballad against thought provoking lyrical content and compelling vocals by Crowfoot that takes no prisoners. Track 3 ‘Ghost Lament” my personal favorite keeps pushing hard with its slithering acoustic guitar groove that eventually lending itself into a fascinating yet eerie piece with an infectious rock melody that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of AC/DC, Airborne, Nick Cave, Grinderman and even vintage Crazy Horse. Right from the start you will notice these lads Crowfoot (vocals and guitars), The Reverend Russ Redford (harmonica), Eric T. Loi (Lead Guita)r, Rob Wilson (bass), Phantom Limb (drums) feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a raw, heavy rock feel to it reminiscent of music popular back in the late nineties yet with a modern day twist and feel. The guitar playing hits you right between the eyes and dishes out impressive heavy R&B type guitar licks all built upon a solid low end rhythm foundation. The vocal timber from Crowfoot is full of passion and recklessness abandon. The musicianship from all the other members in the band has everything you would expect from a no holds barred Alternative Rock band. Besides the four piece standard I can also hear well placed Harmonica, impressive solo guitar, all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. The songs themselves are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove. From heartfelt “Day After Day” to rocking “Black Dog Song” to foreboding “Man King of Blood” to rock steady “Pete Ham” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 8 “Alex” the prefect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. At the end of the day this 8 track catalogue is guilty of being a bit short overall. It needs perhaps 3 or 4 more tracks to make it a fully loaded release. The mix is not what I would call legendary, but actually manages to keep its head above water delivering a raw, yet vintage garage band sound that actually fits this style of music well. Having said that, a world class mix would have made this experience even more up-close, powerful and personal. As a result the CD lacks serious bottom end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. Overall it sounds as clear as mud lacking depth, variety and possesses a lackluster sound quality. This mix would be a cutting edge musical production if it was 1970, unfortunately it's 2013 and the bar is set really high for artists like The Buffalo Crows when it comes to sound quality.
In close Black Tooth Grin by The Buffalo Crows rocks the house and proves where there is smoke there is fire. From start to finish this CD is an action packed production from start to finish. It’s strong suit – its raw feel almost as if you were watching a band play live. If these guys have a slam dunk live presentation then that would be a deadly combination. The songs are extremely heavy, melodic, passionate and powerful. This band will no doubt get your adrenalin pumping. Yep – it looks like Rock n Roll is still rolling down under in Newcastle.