In 2019 the Buffalo Killers core of Andrew Gabbard – guitar and vocals and Zachary Gabbard – bass and vocals, joined The Black Keys touring band. After circling the globe behind Let It Rock the world shut down and The Gabbard Brothers decided to record their first album together at each other’s home studios during Covid lockdown. The resulting self-titled release on Karma Chief / Colemine Records is a mix of comfy efforts with slightly wooly experiments mixed in.
The overall vibe is pleasant and well worn as the brothers easily fall in with a welcoming tone. The rolling 60’s inspired country-psych-folk rock mix is easy going as the players lock up on earthy efforts like the down-home “Pockets Of Your Mind”, the acoustic strums paired with electro licks of “Feel Better Love Better” and the swaying escapism of “Easters Child” which tacks on an outro calliope for extra weirdness.
The most complete efforts hit home on multiple fronts as “Little Mama” pulls off the neat trick of starting out as an early Beatles Cavern Club-sounding rocker before morphing into a later Beatles experimental finale. The paranoid lockdown-inspired “Said Too Much” dives into anxiety with jangling strums and rich bass while distorted guitar and punchy drums color the quick “Lovin Arms”. A catchy highlight, “Early Pages” pushes folk-rock and fantastic harmonies about retro-fitting life in a sweet fashion.
Those harmonies ring throughout the album and elevate basic efforts like closer “Lay Down”. Even when the brothers don’t have much to say, the singing, sound, and production techniques are still worth hearing. “Hang On, Mama”, “Yer A Rockstar” and “Gimme Some Of That” don’t get deeper than their titles, but each one gallops, buzzes or spaces out, drifting by agreeably.
That is the overall feeling of The Gabbard Brothers as the musical siblings examined their surroundings, dug into family life, and delivered a debut record with easy strolling, buzzing folk-rock to pass the time harmoniously.