Music Review – Buzzard – Valium Gorillas

Buzzard band photoBuzzard are a three piece Grunge Rock power trio with Punk undertones to their sound. Formed in 2011, they comprise of Jimmy Croutear on guitar and vocals, Andy Vernon on bass and vocals, and Justin James on drums and vocals. They produce and perform mostly original material and are based in Stourbridge, UK. The band have a hunger for great things and have hit the ground running hard showcasing new material for “Vallium Gorillas” live at venues across the UK along with their now cult classic debut album songs mixed in. “We feel our 13 track album perfectly demonstrates our varied sub genre influences such as Motorhead, Foo Fighters, QOTSA, Nirvana, plus hints of ACDC and The Sex Pistols etc. If you’re a fan of any of those or similar, chances are you will dig our album which is available to physically buy at all live shows and on popular streaming websites.” said Jimmy Croutear.

Buzzard Album ArtFirst listing on the album is 2011 Dursley. I asked Jimmy what this was about and here’s what he said.

“2011 Dursley is a recording of someone close to us and no longer with us who sadly passed away in the very early beginnings of the band. The audio was ripped from a video of our first ever gig together which was a birthday party. Justin then mixed this with a sample of Kamikaze thus making a fun but emotional pre-intro to the hard hitting ‘Kamikaze’. To those close to us since the beginning they will instantly understand it’s a nod to a good person who believed in us so much, to those new to us it’s a fun get ready for some noise moment.” Jimmy told me.

Kamikaze is my favourite track of the album, it gives you a massive boot up the rear and insists that you rock out to it. The strong bass lines and guitar riffs give this track a robust feel to it. Vocals from Jimmy finish it off well. This is the style I like from Buzzard.

 

You Deserve Better has unusual effects to it, but there’s still no mistaking the Buzzard signature sound with its Punk undertones. I can imagine a lot of fans relating to the lyrics on this track, and joining in at a live performance. All Roads Lead To is another unusual track, which has a strange mix of sounds running through it, however, it seems to work well. The acoustic guitar eventually takes priority over the beat, and this accompanied by Jimmy’s vocals evolves into quite a pleasant track. Jimmy told me “All Roads Lead To is the first of a handful of acoustic songs to be heard on the album. After our success performing acoustically at Wolves Fest, we felt the need to showcase both our adaptable electric and acoustic sides of the band, and also a sense of gained maturity as individuals since our first record. A commercial example of this would be the “In Your Honour” Album by The Foo Fighters, the title of the song is a nod to our first album also called All Roads Lead To.

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Step It Up is another strong track on the album, with its powerful guitar and impressive drum beat along with the coarseness of Jimmy’s voice alongside a haunting female voice it makes for a good listen. I asked Jimmy who the female vocalist was and this is what he said. ‘The guest harmonies and vocals are provided by Emily Abbiss who is an amazing singer songwriter and close friend of the band. When recording ‘Valium Gorillas’ we felt the need to re-record ‘Step It Up’ as it was too much of a good song to leave behind as the demo version originally recorded by Chris Smith of The Den Studios (RIP). We had progressed so much more as a band between this version and starting the recording of the album. After laying everything down we still felt something was missing, so I decided to overdub a guitar solo and mix in blended dirty and also clean open chord guitar tones to give a richer, glossy feel. After all this the song still felt incomplete. After listening to some old school 90’s pop and taking influence, I then asked Emily if she would be interested in helping experiment with added harmonies. The idea was an instant hit with the band and we recorded the vocals shortly after, thus completing the new version of the song. We feel the vocal definitely adds a soulful, intense vibe to the track that is both emotional and encouraging. The song is about overcoming depression.

Isaiah 53 was something completely different, and is a religious reference, so for this I turned to the band to explain. “We are forever looking at ways to outdo our earlier work and also do something a little different to stand outDSC05283. You often hear of solo piano or acoustic arrangements, but for a bass solo instrumental to appear, that’s certainly something else, and also suits the bands personality very well. The idea is a nod to Cliff Burton of Metallica who was an amazing bassist and a huge influence on Andy. The track is designed to feel both soothing and also haunting at the same time. The title is a religious reference. We feel the positioning of the track on the album perfectly breaks up the heaviness for a short while before jumping straight back into it with ‘Internet Superstar’ our current single.”

After listening to this track a number of times, I would like to say a huge well done to Buzzard, in particular Andy Vernon for this, amazing track. It certainly grabs your attention, and is quite a journey. Thanks Andy!

Internet Superstar is a compelling track which you just have to enjoy along with the video, here’s the link:

Proud is one of a cluster of acoustic tracks which is a combination of acoustic guitar, Jimmy’s vocals, a cajon drum, an electronic bass, and bags of Buzzard’s own twist. It certainly gives this band a uniqueness to their sound, and shows that these guys are very capable musicians. The guitar solos are an electric guitar with a clean tone. Under The Tree is wow, a completely different sound, melodic vocals and a catchy tune that gets your foot tapping, and you just want to have a sing-a-long to it. A very nice, very different track that just adds to the showcase of this band’s many talents. It’s poles apart from any other track on the album. Covered By the Blood seems to have religious references in the lyrics, and is another strong acoustic track which I thoroughly enjoyed, and would hope to hear this live in the near future. Although acoustic, it has hijacked some elements of the aggressive, gritty sound that Buzzard are known for. Another Chain takes you back to the sounds that Buzzard are well known for, gritty vocals, punk undertones, strong bass lines and chunky guitar riffs. Another strong track in my opinion. Frustration continues with the hard rocking theme giving you another opportunity to rock out. Step It Up Demo finishes the album off nicely, a classic track from these guys.

Valium Gorillas‘ takes you on a journey through many different music styles, including the much loved Punk and Rock signature sound which remind me so much of the days of the Sex Pistols but you have to give them credit for how they have combined this sound with many other elements from a variety of genres, to come up with a unique Buzzard concoction. It most definitely excites me to hear the combinations that they have showcased on this album, and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future. In summary, this album is a strong demonstration of the many talents these guys possess, but I still feel there is so much more to come, so watch this space!

Rating: 4/5

 

Deb Gardner

Reviewed by Deb Gardner

Photography courtesy of Dave Briggs. Follow him on facebook here

If you would like to find out more about Buzzard, why not follow them on facebook or visit their website.

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