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Album Review: Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Skinwalker

3 min read
Album Review: Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard - Skinwalker

Welsh rockers Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have been carving themselves a niche over the past decade or so. Initially releasing tunes prior to the pandemic and seeing major success with songs like John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ, the band refined their sound into the fizzing rock opus that was their 2022 debut album Backhand Deals. The mix of rock genres and great songwriting raised the band above many of their contemporaries, but their were signs early on that this sound was beginning to darken. Now, the groups quick turn-around has resulted in new album Skinwalker.

The change is apparent immediately opening with a hauntingly atmospheric intro that sets up the paranormal aspect to the album’s look and themes, including a brief introduction to the spoken word sections that break up the album. National Rust, however, is probably the closest thematically to the band’s debut, with lyrics on the decline of the British way of life being represented in terms of colour and paint. Instrumentally, it slots in perfectly as a doorway to the album, being moody and full of complex passages but having a pep to its step. The record continues to darken tonally as it goes on, My Star Sign Is A Bassett Hound featuring cheery backing vocals, almost childish lyrics, and a catchy lead guitar line, but holds an underlying weight, Tom Rees perhaps alluding to his loyalty to people being dog-like, which could be taken in a good or bad context. 

Sugar Sandwich and Leatherbound fully embrace grunge, the latter having a riff reminiscent of Nirvana but with a more involved and satisfying drum groove and gritty bass. The former melds Soundgarden and Black Sabbath-esc riffs into a driving rock track that chugs along with little respite in the mix. In My Egg is a late album highlight, feeling like the culmination of every element on the record maxed out. Off-the-wall lyrics, excellent melodies, fuzzy harmonised solos, and a solo bass moment that builds into one of the most explosive walls of sound on the whole album. Therapy is another moment of greatness stretched over a six-minute, solo-heavy runtime that boarders extravagance. Lyrically and musically solid, it’s a showcase of each member’s musical abilities and one that will no doubt be a highlight of live shows. Concluding the album as well as rounding off the spoken word segments, Night Of The Skinwalker combines two heavily distorted and catchy riffs into a mammoth song that brings the themes of the album together.

The difference between this album and their debut is chalk and cheese; light and dark. Few hints of the glam rock aesthetic remain, and if it wasn’t for Tom Rees distinctive vocals you could argue a case for this being an entirely different band. Regardless, the end result is a cohesive, bombastic, energetic record embracing elements of metal, grunge, and garage rock with a ferocity of a group with a grudge. Whether trying to distance themselves from their past or simply show another side to their sound, Buzzard have released the hounds on those trying to pigeonhole them into one area of rock.