Ghost Buffalo - The Magician
Record Label: Suburban Home Records
Release Date: March 18, 2008
Forget Long Island. Forget Seattle. Forget Athens, Georgia. The state of Colorado is the new musical hotbed. Chart-toppers One Republic and The Fray call the state home, as do newcomers Tickle Me Pink and I Hate Kate. But of all the up-and-comers few are as promising or as charismatic as the Denver quartet Ghost Buffalo. Made up of former members of beloved emo darlings Planes Mistaken for Stars and singer/guitarist Marie Litton, the band churns out music that is heavy in delivering bare-bones rock, with rumbling undercurrents of dark, moody behaviors. There’s a bit of blues and grit in Litton’s voice, which calls to mind a more ethereal Jenny Lewis or Jenny O. One listen to tracks “Fire Walk with Me” and “Gold Disease” and one gets the feeling that maybe Colorado’s water supply should be tested. The music is just that good.
The Magician is much different from the band's debut, but that's probably a good thing. After all, three-fifths of the band left after the record was made, and the band was forced to forge a new identity. The end result is the dark, moody effort that has all the trappings of chart-topping success. Steering away from the alt-country that marked their first album, The Magician snakes along in all the right places and curls around to leave a most indelible impression. It's an album to accompany a walk through a graveyard, or a long walk home in the dark. One thing it's not is an album for a sunny day. It's a near flawless album from start to finish that successfully marries caustic lyrics, sterling production and exquisite musicianship. The only drawback to the ten songs though is that they don't allow Marie Litton to shine. Instead the music serves as the focal point and often drowns out or distorts her incredible vocals. Listening to the disc, one can't help but wish for a half-dozen acoustic songs with just Litton and the guitar. Yeah, that feels right.