Kentucky

Buzz Prophets

Tender Stone Entertainment, 2000

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Buzz-Prophets

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/21/1999

When The Black Crowes first burst on to the scene almost a decade ago, I seriously thought we were witnessing the birth of a new genre of music. Combining the sensibility of the blues with the energy of Southern rock - and a bit of free-form madness a la the Allman Brothers, this was an exciting amalgam of music that I was looking forward to hearing a lot of. Unfortunately, it didn't quite materialize that way.

Now, in a slightly similar vein, come the Buzz Prophets and their debut disc Kentucky. Combining equal parts of the Crowes and R.E.O. Speedwagon, they dare to make this music come alive again. And, with a few exceptions, they do a pretty admirable job.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The band - vocalist Scott Clark, guitarist Drew Wohl, bassist Anthony Mancebo and drummer Charlie Bonet - often seem to invoke the spirit of Collective Soul in their music, such as in the title track. Invoking a funky backbeat, they layer the song's heart with crunchy guitar riffs and catchy vocal lines. It doesn't work quite as well as they would have hoped, but they don't do a terrible job on the attempts.

What does hurt the Buzz Prophets coming out of the gate on Kentucky is that it takes them time to build up momentum, and to find their own niche. The opening track, "Better Believe It," is hardly a fair representation of the band, and has Clark's vocals hidden to far in the mix. On this track, it sometimes felt like I was listening to a '90s metal band like Firehouse.

Fortunately for the Buzz Prophets, tracks like "Wasting Time" and "Break Down" lock the listener in and make them want to discover more about the band. These are the tracks that suggest a bright future for the band... but there is a part of me that feels the true energy of these songs can't be captured in a studio setting.

Despite the comparisons I've made of the Buzz Prophets to other bands, it is interesting to note that by the time tracks like "Break Down" hit your earphones, they've developed a sound of their own that doesn't rely on the established bands of the genre (even if they borrow an idea or two from them). This is where I hear the true potential of Kentucky; this is a beginning effort from a band that is just now discovering what kind of power they possess.

The only real problem with Kentucky is that it takes so long to really get engrossed in the album. I think it took me six tries to get past the first three songs on the disc, just because I kept losing my concentration on the music. On one side, that's not good; you want the listener to be enraptured by each note. Then again, I did keep going back to the music...

Kentucky is a decent first effort from the Buzz Prophets, but I'm excited not about what I hear on this disc, but what I hear this band potentially doing in the very near future.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Tender Stone Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.