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Published: 2009/02/10
by Brian Robbins

Buick 6 – Buick 6

Gravel Road Records

It’s been said before on these virtual pages (by me, as a matter of fact) that Buick 6 is to Lucinda Williams as Crazy Horse (with a much bigger sonic palette to work with) is to Neil Young. If you’re cool with that, let’s take the analogy one step further: imagine if on the heels some great NY/CH album like Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, the Horse just stayed in the studio and rode that vibe right into a session of their own. Well, that’s what you get with Buick 6’s new self-titled release: as the recording of Lucinda’s Little Honey came to an end, the Buick 6 boys knew enough not to waste a good buzz they kept the wheels turning and banged out a 13-song almost-all-instrumental disc of their own.

As the word has gotten out about Buick 6 in the wake of Little Honey’s release, the guitar daredevilry of Doug Pettibone and Chet Lyster has received its share of attention and deservedly so. The two of them weave rhythm and leads effortlessly, taking things from nuts-to-the-wall Stones crunch to Jeff Beck-like sound squalls at the drop of a hat. And there’s plenty of that on this album but the bottom end of the beast speaks for itself, as well. Bassist David Sutton and drummer Butch Norton are the engineers for this trip they lay the foundations that give Pettibone and Lyster the freedom to do their things. Take the opening 20 seconds of “Unmello”: as the guitars bark, take a breath, and then begin to wail and shriek, Norton sounds like he’s riding the drum kit down a flight of stairs, never missing a beat, with Sutton right behind him. Hitting the landing at the bottom, Butch explodes into a just-right roll and he and Sutton take off on a slap-the-door-with-the-palm-of-your-hand wild ride. I tell ya these guys ain’t scared of nuthin’.

Name your mood; name your destination Buick 6 knows the way. Surf guitar from Neptune? Got it. (A wild-ass take on the classic “Pipeline.”) Cool funk? Take yer pick. (Try “Freak Circus” or the slightly-MMW-sounding “Hammond Eggs.”) True-to-the-vibe reggae? Believe it: the stuttering skanking of “Killer Spliffs” will take you there, mon. Go ahead pick a crazy one some Led Zeppelin, you say? Damn straight: check out the boys’ take on “Black Dog” with everything from some nasty blues harp to some heavily-pedaled guitar mimicking Robert Plant’s wails. (Sutton actually covers the breathy low-end “uhh uhh”s on the bass at one point.) And they even invite Sister Lucinda in for an alternate take of her “Well, Well, Well” Little Honey’s back porch stomp swapped for some raunchy electrified grease.

So here’s the deal: Norton, Sutton, Lyster, and Pettibone are all great musicians in their own right.

But Buick 6? Man – what a goddamn band.

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