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Buzzard Canyon – Drunken Tales of an Underachiever . . . The Saga Continues

Buzzard Canyon
Drunken Tales of an Underachiever . . . The Saga Continues
by Gary Hernandez at 03 April 2022, 2:54 PM

BUZZARD CANYON is a Stoner Rock band out of Connecticut. They use the term “Camaro Rock” to describe their sound, but they are solidly Stoner/Desert. If you need road markers, think DEAD FEATHERS, OLD BLOOD, RUBY THE HATCHET. The band formed in 2013, released their debut full-length, “Hellfire and Whiskey,” in 2016, and their sophomore album, “Drunken Tales of an Underachiever . . . The Saga Continues,” on January 28, 2022 via Argonauta Records.

There are a lot of good things about BUZZARD CANYON and a few things that seem to weigh them down. In quick succession, the good things are vocalist Amber Leigh—clean, sultry, powerful, intuitive. Her vocals are always on target, and she just seems to know where and when to punch. Great talent. Another positive: Their twin guitar assault just keeps the riffs coming. Aaron Lewis and Mike Parkyn seem well attuned to each other’s style and pair exceptionally well. The same goes for the rhythm section of Matt Raftery (drums) and Rob Birkbeck (bass). So far so good.

Now there are just a few things that seemed off-kilter. First, the mix on this album is below expectations. And this isn’t a matter of trying to emulate an analog vibe, I have heard many bands who capture an analog sound and still have great mastering. The separation just isn’t there, the highs lack crispness, and the lows are more mids. Second, while a male vocalist adds some variety, Amber is too good to be matched. Aaron Lewis is a good vocalist in his own right, but next to Amber he's a distraction to what you really want to hear—which is more Amber. And lastly, the punk aesthetic (e.g., drunk lizard mascot, cartoon album covers, even album and song themes) seems amiss with the band’s overall natural vibe. BUZZARD CANYON is to be reaching for a raw, down and dirty vibe when they are clearly more suited for the refined and clean.

Standout tracks include “Ruf,” “Cocaine and Cigarette Burns,” and “Fools and Halfwits” (though, again, I would love to hear this with only Amber). The cover of “Where Eagles Dare” (MISFITS) is well intentioned but the isn’t quite visceral or raw enough. And maybe that’s it. There are several other ‘close but not quite’ tracks and a few full misses which I won’t recount. All in all, when BUZZARD CANYON hits the mark, they are fantastic. They have a lot of potential and I’m eager to see how they evolve. I am hopeful their new home with Argonauta Records will do them a lot of good.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

1. Ruf
2. Psychedelic Drug Farm
3. Ashes
4. Cocaine and Cigarette Burns
5. Where Eagles Dare (Misfits cover)
6. Fools and Halfwits
7. Divorcing the Savior
8. Stumbling Drunk
9. Gashole
Amber Leigh – Vocals
Aaron Lewis – Vocals, guitars
Mike Parkyn – Guitars
Matt Raftery – Drums
Rob Birkbeck – Bass
Record Label: Argonauta Records


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