Richard Buckner

Record review

Phases & Stages

Richard Buckner

Dents and Shells (Merge) Richard Buckner is cooler than Freon. His raspy voice begets dour lyrics that actually chill the air around your mode of music delivery. Without elation or regret, Buckner speaks stories, explanations of missteps and wrong turns, contemplations of lost loves and past lives. Dents and Shells is the travelogue of such a road-worn songwriter. A beater of a vehicle with more miles than an odometer can count, Buckner is what he writes. And as an on-again, off-again Austinite (currently holed up in Brooklyn), Buckner shotgunned D&S with River City shrapnel – Tia Carrera, Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey, Li'l Cap'n Travis' Gary Newcomb, and Moonlight Tower's Jacob Schulze, among others – that complements Buckner's laid-back Zen sentiment perfectly. If Zen and self-awareness are interchangeable. Opener "A Chance Counsel" reflects this traveler's days: foggy, lonely, yet content, a link between tracks both literal and metaphorical. "Invitation" begs for interaction with a longing added to by Newcomb's crying pedal steel. Where "Her" "sips wine from a camping cup on some missing night" with melody and grace, "Charmers" questions will power with tribal intensity: "As soon as I move I'm right behind you." Adding to the pages written by Elliott Smith and Lou Reed, Buckner is the modern age wrapped up in the frustrations and sympathies of a wanderer. Where rock and poetry meet, "the waves will always roll." (Richard Buckner plays the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown, Sunday, Oct. 24)

***.5

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