Review of More Seas Than Before by Garland Buckeye
babysue.com - On Burgin Hill
Lexington, Kentucky's best kept secret. The guys in Garland Buckeye are back with more genuine hard rockers. On Burgin Hill picks up where the band's last release left off. Killer rhythms combine with thick, meaty guitars and peculiar vocals (similar to J. Mascis) to create a formidable wall of cool rock and roll energy. Songs are what make the band, however...and the songs are mighty strong here. The band consists of Brad Gordon (vocals, guitar, bass), Shawn Pantaliono (drums), and Adam Trumbo (vocals, guitar, bass). These fellows' music is super heavy...and just about as tight as a newborn baby that got stuck in the tunnel. If they keep this up...these gentlemen could very well be next year's hippest underground band. Great cuts include "Underdrawn," "Strays," "All Over Cleveland Heights," and "Metal Teeth." (Rating: 5 Excellent) -LMNOP
Nice, very, very nice. Garland Buckeye do all those things you love(d) about modern classic rock music. The songs deviate from the path just to hit several new ones just like Pixies used to do ("Inside Trick"). The choruses are easy/complex sharp-witted bastards just like Mudhoney's ("From Atop Your Suitcase"). The guitars go all screwy on you and lose the plot just to catch it back at the last moment just like Sonic Youth ("#4 Response"). This is good shit. Ah, the grunge thing. Our old pal Jack Endino worked on this record, so the grumbly guitars and pounding drums are no big surprise. To go off on a slight tangent and yet continue with the Nirvana connection, I'd love to see Garland Buckeye's next record produced by Albini. I think Skinny Steve could really pull something amazing out of these boys. They're already so close to making a truly great rock album... Any time I hear someone doing something this cool with guitars, I get re-affirmed and re-committed in my love of The Rock. Records like this don't come along as often as they should, and when they do, you need to grab hold with both hands. --Michael Hukin
All Music Guide
Reflecting on many of their earlier influences such as Mudhoney, the Pixies, and Sonic Youth, the members of Garland Buckeye put together a feverish album of compelling lyrical expression, intense guitar work, and passionate rhythms. This album is all about angst-ridden, emotionally charged, excitingly fulfilling rock & roll. More Seas Than Before rambles from track to track with heavy-hitting percussion, fiery bass lines, and distortion-laden, blazing guitar chords filled with crunch and bite. A delightful record for avid fans who wish to reminisce on the grunge period while digesting some fresh new music at the same time, More Seas Than Before is a fine display of grunge fever in an age of indie music when records like these are hard to come by. Garland Buckeye is a heavy rock-laden force to be reckoned with, a youthful, exuberant, and brash band proudly wearing honest intensity and passionate flair within its songs. --Shawn M. Haney
Action Attack Helicopter
Kentucky's Garland Buckeye are on a mission: show those pretentious indie snobs that there's only one way to rock (Ironically, these guys do NOT rock the same way that Sammy Hagar "rocks"). Simply reclaiming kicks for the kids, multi-instumentalists Adam Trumbo and Brad Gordon (along with drummer Shawn Pantaliono) develop a unique brand of pre-punk NY rock on this debut that somehow sounds punky AND fresh while acknowledging that punk's already been done and there's nothing new under the sun! I want to say that this might well have been recorded in 1974, but such a remark would be inaccurate. More Seas Than Before, mixed and mastered by Jack Endino (Nirvana), sounds old AND new at the same time. Yeah, uh, I think they call that "timeless" or something. GB does not deny the influence of music after the birth of punk; it just avoids the trappings that plague so many of its contemporaries. Other bands have managed to achieve such classic status, but few make it seem so effortless. Garland Buckeye works hard so all you have to do is rock. --Jeremiah
Naughty Secretary Club
Seems as if lately I have been inundated with a slew of quirky bands from Kentucky. First it was Second Story Man, then it was The Grand Prize. This weeks addition is Garland Buckeye. What are they putting in the water up there?
Garland Buckeye are for the most part a pop rock band, the drums are strong and there is distortion on the guitars. I guess maybe it is the vocals and delivery which give the band their edge and elevate them into the eccentric category. The vocals seem intentionally off, not in the sense of off key necessarily, more in the sense of off the mark. Like every time this song is played the vocals are a little different and the vocal inflections are never in the same place twice. Heraclitus would be so proud.
This is what gives Garland Buckeye and there 90's college rock sound an advantage. Where they could easily sound "just like everybody else" they manage to muster up a few tricks to make people pay attention. Songs to take note of are "From Atop Your Suitcase" and "Crime Payments".
If you like your bands unconventional and thinking left of center Garland Buckeye and their CD More Seas Than Before comes with a big hardy recommendation.
As "From Atop Your Suitcase", the lead track on More Seas Than Before, starts its barrelling, staggering gallop, years of indie rock past come to mind. Not even a decade ago, bands mindful of melodic hooks and the experimental potential of de-tuned guitars still ruled the land, and Garland Buckeye's CD is no exception. But "throwback", in Garland Buckeye's case, refers more to the gusto with which they play their tunes -- throwing back shots of their native Kentucky booze, to be sure -- than to mid '90s lip service.
It's that rock-or-be-damned attitude that makes More Seas Than Before a rewarding listen. Traveling the musical road less taken, Adam Trumbo and Brad Gordon's vocals warble and groan over constantly flip-flopping hard rock riffs, all within fourteen pop-length songs. These aren't showy displays of math-rock wizardry, but tunelets based on solid '60s-'70s rock. Certainly, a bit of trimming wouldn't hurt; the hefty garage-rock licks in "Crime Payments" aren't bolstered by the rest of the song's meandering arragements. The strongest cut here, "Attest", sports no filler, packing enough anthemic power to stave off an entire army of Rivers Cuomo wanna-bes.
Former "Seattle sound" producer/progenitor Jack Endino handled some of the post-production here, adding heft to the endless riffs churning from Garland Buckeye's guitars. Fans of clean-cut pop might not dig the convoluted choruses or sonic grit, but they'd be hard-pressed to deny the energy this band brings to the rock and roll table.
Sassy, punchy upbeat rock music from Kentucky's Garland Buckeye. Upon first listen, some folks may be apt to lump this band into the generic alternative rock category...but doing so would be a gross error as well as a miscalculation. Rather than churning out droning slop, the three members of Garland Buckeye present some very well arranged and at times complex little pop/rock ditties that are both catchy and strangely out of step with other bands of our time. While the band uses the standard guitar/bass/drum instrumentation, their use of these instruments is challenging and inventive. The vocals have that strangely detached speak/sing approach that made us love the band St. Johnny so much a few years back. The drums kick dynamite ass, the bass throbs like a twinky blister, and the melodies are strong and intense. Fourteen neat goddamn little tunes here with our favorites being "From Atop Your Suitcase," "Crime Payments" (LOVE this one), and "Connecting Dotted Lines." Cool band with a nice genuine approach to making music. Rating: 4+++ LMNOP
The strangely dated sound of this Lexington, Kentucky trio makes for a sound like Mott The Hoople and The Naughty Sweeties. With staccato drumming and lots of loud disjointed guitar riffs, the band appears to be reaching for an obscure new genre. The abrupt breaks and esoteric vocals would make this seem like a stoner band, but some of the tunes come in at under two minutes with a bit of a punk flair. The recording is clean, the album art is spacey, and if nothing else, this is a bizarrely creative band. --Dug Fredricksen
The Bee's Knees (July 2001, Panama City, FL)
14 big rock tracks that bring back that late 80's northwest sound, with touches of Mudhoney, and bits and pieces of Sonic Youth, hell even some psyche out bits ala Eric's Trip. The Gb's have come back this time though with a lot more rock, and the challenges that made the first album so odd, have given way to a more exact sound. The Buckeyes have grown in that way that they knew what they wanted and did it, no doubts on this one at all. They just rocked out. --Mike Turner
Garland Buckeye seems like one of those hardworking bands that never got their due. Maybe they should have gotten it 10 years ago.
More Seas Than Before was mastered by Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney) so it's no surprise that the mood is decidedly '90s-ish. Actually, the music is too: frenetic, angular and ironic. It's definitely mature, with each member contributing his even share. Brad Gordon and Adam Trumbo trade vocals, guitars and bass throughout as Shawn Pantaliono pounds the skins.
The press bio says "think pre-punk NY." Hmmm... sounds more like post-'90s alterna-guitar rock. The lyrics are okay, the singing is pretty good, the melodies are great and the guitars are even better. I bet these guys really kick ass live. The combination of raw power, tight performance, and hooks would be great to hear. As an album, though, it barely justifies repeated listens. Been there/heard that. --John Wenzel
If these guys were popular seven years ago, they might have been called grunge. Some slower hypnotic rock mixed with some faster borderline punk. --Everts
Slide The Needle (Olympia, WA)
Up beat distorted guitar pop punkers here that have a vein that is similar to the Pixies and X. This is a little more aggressive than both of those bands. More straight forward punk pop and weird. Crunchier and chunkier. Definitely nothing as good as the Pixies or X, but I can see them being a little fun to see at a show. Seems like there would be a lot beer involved. Maybe a few shots of tequila too. --JK
“Right on Step” opens up this EP as a song that’s also featured on their full-length that just screams odd eclectic single. “Some Boys (Never Come Home)” not surprisingly is about war’s effect on soldier’s humanity and amid all the wild guitar licks, they’ve got themselves a pretty good little quick song. Heck they even enlisted Bill Santen to help out writing a song and arranging another. That’s probably why I enjoyed this album so much. It’s short at only thirteen minutes or so but damn if it ain’t sweet. --J-Sin (The Approximation E.P. review)
Two things are true about Kentucky. One, they make some of the best whiskey enjoyed by man. And two, they have some surprisingly great bands. Garland Buckeye follows the second (though at times you figure they have more than a working knowledge of the first point) to a tee. It’s got that perpendicular, angular sense to it that often rock bands can’t even mimic with any nominal success. --J-Sin (On Burgin Hill review)
Delusions Of Adequacy
"Hi. We're Garland Buckeye. Thanks for coming out tonight. This is off our new record and it's called 'Right on Step.'"
The above choice bit of dialogue, no doubt uttered several times in bars and clubs along the northwest coast (and maybe some of the mid-west), is a good indication of Garland Buckeye. Granted, it says nothing about the fact that they've been at it for almost a decade, and the collective members have been doing this whole music thing for almost twice as long. Nor does it say that this EP and album (both released last year) were the fourth and fifth release for the band. However, what it does say is that Garland Buckeye are pretty much commited to the rock. Both The Approximation EP and the latest full-length On Burgin Hill contain condensed precise doses of indie pop.
There is a refreshing lack of bombast and pretension to be found in these tracks. There is no fashion-conscious references to 70s and 80s post-punk icons (i.e., the gaggle of bands that apparently cater their sound to diehard Wire, Gang of Four, and Mission of Burma fans). The sound of Garland Buckeye comes straight from the smokey depths of a club with $1.25 drink specials and last call at 2 am.
"Underdrawn" opens the LP without any of the pomp and circumstance associated with a lot of the "indie" ilk of late. It just starts, and that's that. Vocalist Brad Gordon has one of those "love it or leave it" voices. There is no pretty posturing or whispered confessions here. He wails along with his guitar, but without the "Grown Man Crying" shtick that pretty much only works for people hailing from Omaha. Still, don't come looking for pretty sing-along vocals. This stuff is meant to be heard at loud volumes, preferably with a cold, cheap beer (I prefer Lone Star for this sort of thing) in hand.
Musically, Garland Buckeye provided hooky rock that doesn't veer very far from a non-threatening chugga-chugga of mid-tempo Pavement. The breakdowns allow for the occasional Sonic Youth moment of distorted solo, a la the final moments of "Right on Step." Occasionally, the musicians break into some faster-paced, almost punky material. "Crack Your Book" has a fairly loud guitar hook and a shout-along chorus of "You are the one that's so implicated." Meanwhile, "All Bets, Ours Thrown" off the EP is the perfect encore stomper. Think Pixies if Frank Black was trying to make a small amount of vague sense. I suppose it's unfair to associate the band with The Pixes, since technically any "alternative rock" band to happen after 1988 owes a small debt to Black Francis and the gang. Garland Buckeye share the band's penchant for no-nonsense song writing. It's all about the simple hook and righteous harmonies.
These guys never get too dangerous. They carry the right amount of bite to keep you interested but never even hint at veering off into experimental or crunchy territory. There's not a terrible amount of difference between the material on the EP and the LP, except that the EP contains two songs written by Bill Santen. If you bother to check the archives, Santen put out one of the best acoustic-folk records you never heard. To hear his songs punched up by a live band is a rather odd thing. "Gearheart Island" cops a Breeders-esque riff on the chorus, while "Your Buttons Slip" stretches out the lyrics given the song an elastic quality. Both the EP and the LP contain "Right on Step" (easily the strong single), but the full album has hidden gems like "Elation." Here they manage to pack a keen little guitar solo, bass line flourish, and some typical vague lyrical imagery into just under three minutes.
Make no mistake, these guys are bringing nothing new to the table. However, if you like your indie rock served no-nonsense and to the point, then Garland Buckeye may just be your new favorite undiscovered band. At the very least, these guys make for a track or two for your next mix CD. Those that like the gratuitous samples, instrumental segues, and eight-minute epics should look elsewhere. Garland Buckeye just wants to play the songs and leave you alone. --Eric McPhail
indieville.com - On Burgin Hill
Lexington, Kentucky's Garland Buckeye (named after a 1920s probaseball pitcher and football guard) is your average fun-and-free rock band. There is a lot of Dinosaur Jr. and Cracker in the band's sound, though I don't find their songs as instantly catchy as their predecessors'. Regardless, though, I really enjoy the energy displayed on this disc; at a decent volume, these tunes really can rock. "Underdrawn" and "Metal Teeth" are perfect examples of the Garland Buckeye style - catchy riffs, memorable vocals, and a really powerful mood. In addition to rock, there are definitely some punk and even Americana influences here (what else to expect; they're from Kentucky!) Some of the disc's tracks change things up a bit; the brooding "Strays" is strangely spasmodic and irregular, while the title-track is a calmer pop number. Despite its quality, there isn't really that much to say about On Burgin Hill; if you like music that rocks, give Garland Buckeye a shot.