Buffalo– 4/23/2013
53 Records
Run  Time  0:39:06
11 songs

Reviewed by Greg Elchert

Gooding has gone from driving broken down vans and cooking Ramen noodles in a coffee pot to riding in their own bio diesel Eco bus. The touring juggernaut has been on the road for eight straight years. Founded in L.A. by the singer/guitarist known only as “Gooding,” the indie power trio has performed over 750 shows since 2005.

Even more remarkably, they have managed to do so without ever having been signed to a major label.

Funded mainly by fan contributions, the band recently released its third album, “Buffalo.” Its signature layered, Hendrix-meets-Jack White-meets-the Edge guitar sound is at its creative best here. Billy Driver’s bass is solid and meshes seamlessly with Jesse Rich’s powerful drumming.

Still Want You marries a fuzzed-out, funky low-register guitar riff with a Four-on-the-floor beat and lush, full tom work from Rich.

100 Miles from Nowhere is a frenetic shuffle which, at a runtime of 2:41, practically begs to be listened to on repeat.

Gooding’s lyrics have improved noticeably since 2011’s The Sky Eats the Land. Whereas that album’s lyrics sometimes had unnecessary symbolism and puerile sociopolitical fervor, Buffalo is more focused and incisive. The lead single, Mountain, succinctly depicts a town gone to seed, with the repeated line “Maybe, love, we forgot what matters” serving as a larger-than-life sing-along chorus.

Ironsides,  is a haunting, relentless song, It personifies a steam locomotive as it goes angrily “barreling down the track.” In the most noticeable departure from The Sky Eats the Land, several songs deal with the end of a relationship; On Still Want You, the singer muses on how he can still desire a woman who’s hurt him, while Time to Say Goodbye is a trenchant breakup lyric set to a deceptively upbeat melody.

At just under 40 minutes, Buffalo is not a long album; it is a solid, enjoyable effort from a band that keeps getting better. Given Gooding’s enviable work ethic a strong a follow-up honed by its relentless touring schedule is an inevitable progression.