Buffalo Killers aren’t the only band today with little apparent interest in music made after 1975. But they are one of the best. On the Cincinnati, Ohio, group’s fourth album, their Crazy Horse/Big Star/Badfinger base is built upon with hazy-hippie sing-along melodies, a live vibe dripping with highway miles, and an understanding of classic songwriting and arrangement approaches that would make John Fogerty smile.
After establishing a riffy roadhouse tone with opener “Get It,” Buffalo Killers slip into the CSNY/Bread love fest “Hey Girl,” which drummer Joseph Sebaali tweaks with a tide-like breathiness and cymbal bell dings. Sebaali’s appealing, flowing style throughout is abetted by hissing riveted cymbals and a popping snare that he’s not shy to work hard on the edges. The songwriting quality keeps up throughout the album—“Farewell” recalls early Dead gems like “St. Stephen” and “Unbroken Chain” while “Graffiti Eggplant” reminds of the Allmans’ “Dreams” and “Whipping Post”—and Sebaali makes the most out of the changes, supporting the songs’ maps fully but not predictably. Finally, album closer “Moon Daisy” challenges Sebaali to keep the tension on a slow ballad, which he does with smooth doubles, a bouncing bass drum, and insistent hats.
Eight albums into their career—Sebaali, guitarist/singer Andrew Gabbard, and bassist/singer Zachary Gabbard appeared on four LPs together with their previous band, Thee Shams—this tight unit is poised to grab wide-scale attention at any time. Hopefully that happens, and the quality continues.