DEREK MYERS (guitar, vocals)
DEAN GUNDERSON (bass)
GENE TRAUTMANN (drums)
BRETT NETSON (guitar on this record)
Muffalo is made up of some rowdy deviants and general riff-raff . Founder
Derek Myers has orchestrated a solid mix of players on this record: “LOVE SONGS
AND BATTLE HYMNS.” His dream team is made up of himself on guitar and vocals,
and master bass man Dean Gunderson (Cat Butt, Jack ‘O’ Fire). Gene Trautmann on
drums (Miracle Workers/Queens of the Stone Age/Eagles of Death Metal), and Brett
Netson (Built to Spill, Mark Lanegan, Caustic Resin) plays some guitars on this
album as well.
“BATTLE HYMNS… ” is the product of Muffalo with rock and roll moguls, Hunt Sales (Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Tin Machine) and Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers, Jack Officers, Sublime) at the helm and working their magic with the faders on the sound board. Not bad for your DEBUT record, huh? Of course the production and engineering are almost flawless. MUFFALO is onto something here. The vocals are up front and drive many of the songs on the record. Myers’ vocals are great when they are great. At times the vocals sound like they are hesitant, unsure. That is understood for a first record. When you are creating something new, room for improvement is expected. And I do feel and hear something new in “BATTLE HYMNS…”. It showcases a few tried and true grooves, well placed bridges and tempo changes. There is NO hesitancy in the music on this record. The music is rich, solid and nailed down tight. You can’t help but profit from the production of Leary and Sales, and this record is a perfect example. Every tone, tempo, lick and punch of these songs hit you right in the chest. “BATTLE HYMNS….” has more to be proud of, for a first record, then they do to improve on. That is pretty sweet for a rookie record. Muffalo is as diverse and truly “alternative” than any band I have heard in recent history. I look forward to more from MUFFALO.
“Stitches” ~ 4:11 ~~ Is a psychedelic well-layerd cake with pop swagger
for icing. The burning candles are the guitars that scream and whine like
sirens. Liquid guitars that bend the tones with wanton abandon. “Stitches” is a
song about damage. And the scars we carry for life. The background music
is loopy and wandering, but with purpose. Vocal driven song, hit and miss
with the vocal pitch. The song closes with guitars that channel the trademark
wail of Dave “The Edge” Evans from U2.
“The Bleeding Heart”~~3:50~ At once fuzzy and thick. The vocals are reminiscent of the great Richard Butler. After the first verse, ” The Bleeding Heart” picks up the tempo and kicks up the ante with a driving bridge and a refreshing “giddy-up.” Just you think you got MUFFALO figured out, they throw a sweet and smooth transition at you. Pure and tight bass backed by drums ticking and tocking off the beats. Is this a love story tainted by the dark side of us all? This song rears a dark core with pop tendencies.
“Battle Hymn”~~2:51~ Is Just that: a “Battle Hymn”. A war cry.
Instantly engaging gits and groovy rhythm. Night owl, miscreant, fight the world
and humming the battle hymn.
Mike Ness undertones on the vox.
“Chicken Dinner” ~~4:15~ The cold dish of marital turmoil dissatisfaction with the system, relationships. Bluesy swing from the rhythm section of Gunderson and Trautmann.
“Safe House” ~~2:55~ A pop and fuzz garage groove goodie. With nicely layered vocals reminiscent of old Stranglers or Mark Lanegan style. You can’t help but hear the touch of Hunt Sales on this one. Paul Leary’s production is superb. Sentient, rich and thick recording.
“The Purpose of Aging”~~3:59~ Kind of post punk, kind of new wave or
Dean Gunderson’s bass is warm and heavy. Guitars scream and whine like sirens through the air above a sound riot.
“Strange Women”~~2:27~ This one is more straight ahead with a steady tempo over the story of relationships. Their toll and damage done. This one gets the foot tapping and the head banging. To the story of the illustrious process known playing the field where the players are strangers and the game just gets weirder and weirder.
“Dirty Water”~~2:51~ Early Replacements style. “Change your mind” is the mantra. The needle ‘n’ spoon and the damage done. Slave to the dope. Wandering tempo.
“Pins and Needles”~~3:17 and ” Last Night NO BC”~~3:08. Close the record with some more acidic rock. Think Meat Puppets meets T. Rex.
*********************************** Justin Buzzcrusher******************************