The Buddy System is a five-piece band that after listening to their album Puget Sounds makes me want to go see these guys live. It’s an eclectic album that is often upbeat and contains a surplus of styles that are inclined to have you grab another beer and keep partying. Some funk, reggae, rock and jazz combine throughout on top of some decent songwriting and you have a winning combination. The band consists of Zachary White (guitar & lead vocals), Matthew Lester (bass & vocal harmonies), Taylor Murray (drums & auxiliary percussion), Dean-Austin Mayor (saxophones & backing vocals) and Travis McCulloch (electric guitar & psychedelic fx) all of whom are very capable on their respective instruments.
The album doesn't waste any time with “I am the Man.” The first you thing you hear is the whole band playing together and a snare roll leading straight into the verse. They rock out heavy, break things down and hit everywhere in between. A little bit of reggae, a lot of rock as well as a lot of jam-band tendencies on this song and oh that sax hit the spot.
“You Bones” was a nice change of pace that showed some emotional resonance that wasn't as apparent on the first two songs. The playing was restrained but delivered just as much of an impact. This was also one of Lester’s better vocal performances. There is no mistaking the reggae vibes on “Beat the Bull.” It could have been backing music for Bob Marley. “Dash Point” had a lot of intricate timing that any musician could appreciate while “Tides” implements a psychedelic groove that might cause instantaneous dancing around hippies.
Not every song on the album is gold. Despite their chemistry some of the songs don't have much of a hook. I found myself appreciating the technical ability and energy more than their ability to write a memorable tune. That being said some of the songs you can bring to the bank and I can say without hesitation that these guys probably kick ass live.
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