The White Buffalo - Love and the Death of Damnation

The White Buffalo - Jake Smith to give him his birth name - is the latest output from the less rawk part of the Earache Records label. It’s an interesting spin-off from the core music the label promotes and Smith follows hot on the heels of Blackberry Smoke and Whiskey Myers on the Americana trail. With this, his fourth, Smith is making a play for Europe and the UK, selling out his pair of first ever UK shows in late 2015 and early 2016. Love and the Death of Damnation clearly shows why the Oregon native has found some love from the British Isles.

Right from the off ‘Dark Days’ rattles along at pace, with an attitude that’s contagious (“Don’t worry ‘bout the shit / That you can’t mend”). From there it’s a tour of exactly what modern Americana is: rock driven melodies, a dash of steel guitar, folk tinged attitudes (‘Go The Distance’), and the merest hint of country music. And on his third label release (minus the independent debut, Hogtied Revisited), Smith demonstrates everything he’s learnt, with the beautifully restrained and string laden ‘Radio With No Sound’ and uplifting 'Home Is In Your Arms' major highlights. Love and the Death of Damnation is gold standard Americana, in fact it's likely one of the best you’ll hear in 2016.

Overall

Gold standard Americana.

8

out of 10

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