Richard Buckner "Our Blood"
It’s been a test, involving burglary and headless corpses; of patience and labour of love for both Buckner and Buckner fans. However, focussing on the drama that preceded the album is taking away from this skilful and atmospheric album by a man in formidable form.
‘Our Blood’, his ninth album and third for Merge Records, begins with an almost futuristic statement of intent. Buckner’s laid back baritone echoes the drawl of Evan Dando gentle, relaxed and tinged with an abstract melancholy. The waivering whine of Buddy Cage’s pedal steel is haunting and strange on 'Traitor'. Produced by JD Foster (Calexico, Richmond Fontaine) and a guest spot on ‘Collusion’ from Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley. The European edition has a 3 bonus tracks, including a superb ‘Hofner version’ demo of ‘Thief’ that is incredibly easy to fall in love with.
Buckner is a skilled but sparing lyricist, they all seem evocative and image laden. From “Let’s waste the night; pay the price and get out of here” on 'Escape’ to “Leaves, too young to fall, wonder if they’ve heard it all, hoping just to breeze through panes we raised too low” in ‘Witness’. 'Confession' is a beautiful and bruised ode bookended by the phrase “Within, without”. The track and indeed the album is study in introspective whispering.“I guess I’m the one they warned you about” he sighs. Each title speaks volumes before the track even begins. To start proceedings with ‘Traitor’ seems a bold step but Buckner is a tale spinning man and he draws us into his web. 'Ponder' is a perfectly pitched instrumental to make you do just that. Conjuring sprawling empty landscapes in a dimpsy distant light. This is an indie road movie of a track with timing variations that draw you in and unsettle you.
Buckner has brought us a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, from the inscrutable title ‘Our Blood’, is it us together? To the nod to a Rorshach Test on the cover. Buckner is looking inwards and inviting us to join him. If you aren’t a Buckner fan be patient this is definitely a grower. Keep an eye out for Buckner keeping company with Mr Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine in the UK this November, including ‘Americana Ten’ this auspicious site's 10 year anniversary. An opportunity that can’t be missed