Passion and art go hand in hand, but there are rare instances when true magic occurs and is captured.
“Welcome to the Heart of the City”, Brian Buckley Band’s senior album, is absolutely enchanting.
This album is lightning in a bottle, bold and rare. Buckley’s lyrics are completely unabashed with emotion and honesty while Mike McGraws talents on guitar are the epitome of complex beauty.
It’s nearly impossible to imagine someone could be so talented, and yet McGraw, Buckley, bassist Krishnan Swaminathan, and drummer Albert Estiamba Jr. continue to prove listeners wrong.
“Friendly Fire” the first single off the album is only a taste of the musical genius that is the Brian Buckley Band. An intense electric guitar buildup only to suddenly change to intricate acoustic guitar picking accompanied by marching drums and an electric riff in the background that culminates into honest magic. Buckley’s lyrics and melodic voice are poetry for the ears and mind.
Songs like “Boomerang” and “Joshua Tree” hold their own as upbeat dance worthy songs. One can’t help but dance along and attempt to harmonize with Buckley as he sings of his boyhood. The songs are anything but childish though. In fact when one listens to the lyrics it’s almost perplexing how such deep words could be sung with such youth and vitality. But that’s what makes Buckley’s music absolutely unique. He’s unforgiving with the standards set forth by industrialized cookie-cutter molds as to how music should sound.
The musical talent of each and every member of this band is absolutely mind-blowing. Mike McGraw is some sort of guitar demigod. One can hear and feel the exceptional thought that goes into each pluck and strum.
McGraw is magic. Raw is not the term to describe his talent; it is the opposite of raw. Each lick and riff is controlled and precise but never cold or disconnected, whether it’s the hard edge electric on “Howl at the Moon” or the delicate acoustic on “Please Everybody”.
The talent of Estiamba is diverse and powerful. Berklee educated and warm hearted, he gives his all with every flick of the wrist and tap of the drumhead. His easy transition from the rhythmic marching tapping to bass and tom-tom heavy on “Dragonfly” is enviable. Estiamba’s control, again, is impeccable.
Swaminathan, bassist extraordinaire, is the glue that holds the percussion to the strings and vocals. “Hickory” is where Swaminathan shows that can hold his own while binding the vocal and instrumental elements together. He brings more to the table than electric four string, the classically trained musician specializes and features his upright bass skills as well.
Each member of this band are musicians that should be held in the highest regard. There’s no slack or superiority amongst the brotherhood of musicians. They each give their entire selves to the art but never let the art overwhelm their talent.
“Welcome to the Heart of the City” is composed as a true love letter to the world. Irrevocable emotion, talent, and magic come together as one in this album.
Brian Buckley Band consistently reminds us of what musicianship is. They remind us that one does not enslave themselves to music but in reverse they do not enslave music itself. Music and humanity must co-exist in one, and Brian Buckley Band is the epitome of this.
“Welcome to the Heart of the City” is available on iTunes starting November 14th.