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Distilling the '60s

Buffalo Killers
Buffalo Killers
By Buffalo Killers

Alive Records: 2006

This review first appeared in Turbula in October 2007.

What if punk and new wave, alt and grunge had never happened in rock history? What if the dominant influences remained the Beatles, Dylan and the Rolling Stones? Would all young rock bands sound like Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers?

Like other young retro bands and artists such as Back Door Slam, Derek Trucks or San Diego's Dirty Sweet, the Buffalo Killers look back to the sounds of the late '60s through early '80s for the inspiration to their debut album.

Lots of fuzzed-out guitars, straight-ahead bass and drums, two- and three-part vocal harmonies, all tackling simple but beautiful melodies.

And on the second track, "S.S. Nowhere," the band sounds like nothing so much as Revolver-era Beatles – the song could almost be an outtake from the "Revolver" sessions. The next song, "Heavens You Are," is a dead ringer for post-Beatles solo John Lennon, followed by a Stones-tinged cut in "The Path Before Me" and a James Gang/Doobie Brothers groove on "River Water."

If the band has yet to find its own voice, has yet to distill all the above influences into something new and distinctive, the trio of brothers Andrew (vocals and guitar) and Zachary Gabbard (bass and vocals) and Joseph Sabaali (drums, piano) plays with such confidence and talent that this remains a wonderfully listenable outing.