Reviewed by Jack Derricourt
“What’s your power buddy?” That very might well be the new small talk in Edmonton bars; a new astrology for the rock and roll heart. Answers will flow like Alberta premium liquor: a skateboarding dirtbag, a skitterish toothfairy, a tattooed waitress, a heavy metal jesus. The totems will be numerous and will be proclaimed the guardians of every rollicking musical show on the planet Earth.
The Power Buddies are in reality a three piece from the aforementioned dreamy town in Northern Alberta. They were smart enough to use their powerful name as much as possible, and so the new release for 2014 shares the moniker. Recorded at the Taco Tray — what I can only assume is the spiciest recording space in Edmonton — the eight tracks on the release offer up a healthy serving of rootsy rock and lofi shine. You’ll like the Buddies if you’re into Fidlar, Murder City Devils, Slam Dunk, or the Beatles. Or tacos.
There’s a lot of twang in the mix. This is definitely the most tex mex of the Edmonton stuff I’ve heard so far. Some very Al Kooper ghostly organ work going on, and only minimal drum parts. The vocals have been layered heavily, and slapped around, so that they come through with an almost New Wave slither when they do hit the ears. All three Buddies pull vocal work, which alters things up nicely as the album cruises along. The guitar parts are mixed and interesting: the record features everything from ballsy blues chords to wiry surf tremolo parts, spanning a nice selection of styles in between.
The songs themselves are delightfully introspective. Psychotic insomnia, empty promises for the future, and the loss of self-control are all featured in technicolour. Not the cheap beer and hungover mornings that many of us are used to witnessing in conjunction with this sound — though those make for wonderful songs as well. It seems the Buddies want more out of their lyrical material. Well done there, pushing the envelope open and stuffing it full of scream therapy recordings.
A couple of favourite pets: “In My Mind” has a slaying beat and a hook-driven verse part that will tame the wildest heart; and “I Saw a Light” is a glorious, creepy love song. There is no reason this record isn’t already a part of computer’s soul, and in turn your own. Give it a shot. Get into Power Buddies.
Top Tracks: “I Can’t Sleep” , “In My Mind” , “Every Night”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)