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Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard come armed with swaggering individuality on Backhand Deals

"Backhand Deals"

Release date: 25 February 2022
Buzzard backhand deals art
24 February 2022, 07:00 Written by Christopher Hamilton-Peach
Clawing the radio dial back to the golden age of 70s power pop, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard lurch between the throes of Queen and Fleetwood Mac with a wisecracking cheekiness, sans the pretension often linked with the revivalist cause.

It’s this humour paired with a social conscience that has seen the Cardiff four-piece amass a cult-like following in recent years, gleeful bubblegum-plastered shenanigans let loose to distract from the daily humdrum.

Backhand Deals is a further statement of intent to this end, moderating The Non-Stop EP’s glam garb with limber sunny uplifts, the smarts of 10cc spun from a modern vantage point. Siblings Tom and Ed Rees, alongside Zac White and Ethan Hurst, cut cheeriness with a disaffection in their lyrics, as is the case with “New Age Millennial Magic”, an anthem for generational discontent that laments a widespread habit for words at the expense of action. The swelling of keys and drums at the onset of “Break Right In” and “Good Day” stitch together a self-aware scene of space hoppers and flared jeans; spades of charm that feeds the album’s optimism in the face of adversity.

“Crescent Man vs Demolition Man” will resonate with anyone familiar with the demise of Cardiff’s Guildford Crescent-housed venue Gwdihŵ, the loss of a much-loved fixture in the local music scene that’s grimly symptomatic of a broader antipathy to the preservation of cultural hubs. In these such moments the outfit find their voice, one that continues with politically on the money “Faking A Living” and “Feel The Change!”, sliding between the tempo of a Christine McVie-penned number and road tripping Grateful Dead-esque riffs; while updating The Who’s famed mantra in a fresh light: “I hope I die before I get old / Then when the time comes you go kicking and screaming singing / Why won’t those kids do what they are told”. The piano charged “Yourself” elsewhere showcases a softer side to Tom Rees’ songwriting, tactful twists and turns that seem to define the direction of travel.

The Badfinger-leaning “You” and quasi-Britpop of “Passionate Life” typify an era-colliding strain driving at Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard’s work, segueing track by track without feeling forced. Backhand Deals captures this pop revisionism, the band tweaking sounds of yesteryear with enough swaggering individuality in their own right.

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