Love Songs And Battle Hymns / LP
Buttamilk Records

DEREK MYERS (guitar, vocals)
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.

Gene Trauttman ( photo by Unify Photos)





“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.

Dean Gunderson and Derek Myers (photo by Unify Photo)










“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.

Dean Gunderson and Gene Trautmann a.k.a. " Dean 'n' Gene" (photo by Cindy Bansemer)

“The Purpose of Aging”~~3:59~  Kind of post punk, kind of new wave or new romantic.
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.

Derek Myers flashing the Muffalo Gang Sign (photo by Cindy Bansemer)

***********************************  Justin Buzzcrusher******************************

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This entry was posted in Reviews,
tagged Brett Netson, Built to Spill, Butthole Surfers, Cat Butt, Caustic Resin, Cindy Bansemer, Cindy...on the Rocks, Dave "The Edge" Evans, David Bowie, Dean Gunderson, Derek Myers, Eagles of Death Metal, Gene Trautmann, Hunt Sales, Iggy Pop, Jack Officers, Jack-O-Fire, Love Songs and Battle Hymns, Mark Lanegan, Mike Ness, Miracle Workers, Muffalo, Queens of the Stone Age, Richard Butler, Sound, Sublime, The Meat Puppets., The Replacements, The Stranglers, Tin Machine, U2, Unify Photos