Wes Carr has released his first album under the moniker, Buffalo Tales and simultaneously pulled a Matt Corby and a Bob Evans. The former parallel comes courtesy of shaking off the Australian Idol tag and turning your back on pop by following the folk troubadour route. The latter is because this is Carr’s most personal record to date and yet he has chosen to release it under a pseudonym.
Roadtrip Confessionals is a haunting collection of 13 acoustic songs that are loosely based on a soundtrack to a fictional road trip. It also has four pit stops along the way in the form of three jarring interludes and an introduction where feet wander around on some gravel, which sounds more like a field recording. The addition of these pieces doesn’t really work and Carr would’ve been better off re-jigging the running order and sticking to the songs proper.
The record is a long one that clocks in at 53 minutes. Carr includes two unnecessary cover songs in the form of Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz” and one made famous by Rihanna, “Diamonds”. There are also three older songs by Carr including “Waiting For You” and “Please”. The latter track is a raw, pleading number that shares an awful lot in common with Paul Kelly.
“Tricks To Magik” meanwhile, features Sam Buckingham and this Sydney songwriter is one of a few guest stars. Other songs feature The Falls on backing vocals while Scottish folk singer, Rachel Sermanni and all-female, roots trio, Baskery from Sweden also take the time to lend their vocals.
The content of the songs is actually quite raw and open with the lyrics often referencing subjects like heartbreak, sadness, yearning and soul-searching. There are many moments where the feeling and emotion become all too much and will require you to reach for the box of Kleenex, with the quiet hush and personal stories tugging at your heartstrings until they’re ready to break.
On the flipside, there are also moments that are high energy and romp with a boot-scooting joy. These alt-country songs are ecstatic and party stomping like in “OH! My Kingdom” where the banjos and handclaps mean this wouldn’t be out of place during a Mumford & Sons’ show. It’s a full, layered sound that is a stark contrast to the sparse feel of the wide open road and this country’s big, brown land that the rest of the music seems to reference.
Roadtrip Confessionals is one honest and mature record. It’s like a ramble through Carr’s experiences and journey to date and it’s one that for better and for worse, in sickness and in health has already been done. He’s essentially poured his heart out and used the depth and breadth of his experience to colour his songs and while the music doesn’t differ all too much, the lyrics are sweet and full of heart.
Originally published on 25 August 2013 at the following website: http://thedwarf.com.au/album_review/buffalo-tales-roadtrip-confessionals
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