The White Buffalo

2020

Southern Californian Jake Smith works his songs under the “The White Buffalo” flag. He’s not here to give you a verse, bridge and chorus routine, he’s here to give you a story you can relate too. Whether it makes people laugh or cry, and many have said his work does, he’s drawing from the Rock, Soul, Blues and Americana genres. Jake’s voice is of the deep gravel type variety, so lets imagine Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen all rolled into one for a reference.

Producing the album is Shooter Jennings (son of Waylon), who has worked with Marilyn Manson through to Tanya Tucker, to highlight his diversity. This release marks Jake and his band’s sixth White Buffalo album on the new Universal Snakefarm Records. The band consists of Jake vocals/guitar, Christopher Hoffee on bass (plus additional guitar) and Matt Lynott on drums. Shooter also provided piano/keyboards to the recording.

Press play! The opener is ‘Problem Solution’, a catchy rhythmic number, guitar heavy to begin with, which then switches down to piano mid-song, almost like two songs become one, thus ticking the clever box. ‘The Drifter’ drops the tempo with the “Lets gets some alcohol” line hanging around a number of times regarding the subject matter, before, with gusto we are uplifted in almost Los Lobos style with ‘No History’.

In at track four, the missing you love song comes in the form of ‘Sycamore’, followed by the interestingly titled ‘Come On Shorty’, a mid-tempo break-up tune, happy in melody, but angry in lyrical content. The melancholy anguish of ‘Cursive’ sweeps along with its heartache, soon to be given a kick, with the almost Punk Rock of ‘Faster Than Fire’ following up.

However, the top tracks on this eleven-song collective are saved towards the end, with the pure class of ‘Widows Walk’ (suffice to say which is now on repeat), followed closely by ‘River Of Love And Loss’ - very sparse and atmospheric - yet effective. ‘The Rapture’, dark in its delivery, lets the Buffalo roam free, and along with the smoothing ballad of ‘I Don’t Know A Thing About Love’, they both fittingly close down this piece of art.

The album’s release date of Friday 17th April was due to coincide with a European tour in April, but given the current lockdown, these dates have now been rearranged for late November/early December, including London’s O2 Forum in Kentish Town on Wednesday 2nd December.

Geoff C.

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