Dred Buffalo is a Boston-based rock quartet. Their lineup consists of Alerisa Rose (vocals), Chase Cavacco (guitars), Paul Curran (bass) and Davey Dreyer (drums). All are longtime friends who grew up on Boston’s South Shore; following a strong Boston band tradition, they’ve moved into a house together, and have written, recorded and released their eponymous debut album Dred Buffalo.
Dred Buffalo is a tasty slab of bluesy rock, although calling it just “rock” doesn’t do it justice. Over the nine tracks, the band takes us on a journey of evolving musical styles--like a good train ride, you don’t feel as if you’re moving, but when you look up you’re somewhere else.
Our ride starts with “Mr. Fella” which is Dred Buffalo’s take on the twelve-bar blues format. They’re not breaking new ground here, but they do move outside the standard I-IV-V chords and give it their own twist. And, besides, how can you dislike a song that includes a vibraslap?
“Malign and I” introduces elements of soul and psychedelia into the mix, and Cavacco lays down some dueling blues-guitar lines to keep us rooted. “Gloo Canoe” with its punky A section, riffy B section, and various breakdowns and tempo changes, could have been a Guns ‘N Roses song, if Dred Buffalo cranked up the Marshalls. Curran introduces a heavy, Led Zeppelin-style bass riff here, which foreshadows some of his later work.
“3AM,” the band’s take on the slow blues shuffle, features some terrific guitar tones. “Night Owl,” heavier still, harkens back to early ‘70s Aerosmith, a la “Train Kept A Rollin’.” “Call of the Buffalo” has a great arrangement, where the main descending riff is reinterpreted in surf-rock and hard-rock flavors. When we finally arrive at “Tacky Tendrils,” the band is full-out heavy rock; Zeppelin fans will find this familiar.
Overall, the album sounds as if the band, as a cohesive, well-practiced unit, set up in a studio room and played their hearts out. Rose’s vocals sound great, and Dreyer’s drums keep it all locked in. There are overdubs--Cavacco does a nice job making us think there are two distinct guitarists in the band--but for the most part the feel is that of a nearly-live album. It’s nice to hear a new rock album from the Boston music scene. Give Dred Buffalo a try!
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