I didn’t know Buffalo Bill 1 and I still don’t. However, very infrequently, sequels stand on their own and prove to be better than the original. I don’t know if this is the case with this mouthful of a title, given that there are no torrents up for the 1987 cult classic, but let’s assume that it is. It’s not laziness, by the way, it’s a savvy time-saving assumption.
I Knew Buffalo Bill, Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, is the brainchild and throatchild (if such a thing exists) of Jeremy Gluck, best known as the lead singer for late 70’s ‘surf-rock’ band, the Barracudas. Think the Beach Boys, but 15 years later and Canadian/English. Sounds chilly, no? He’s joined by Robert Coyne, who every other reviewer has pointed out is the son of the now deceased, great, Kevin Coyne, so I suppose I should include that, because it seems to be of paramount relevance to the sound of this album.
Thankfully, this is a million miles away from Surfin’ OTT.OW.A . We’re skirting the ambiguous line between folk, indy, and bluesy, classic rock. It’s a line so ambiguous, most people would claim it doesn’t even exist. Doubting Thomases (or Thomi) aside, Memory Deluxe holds up well.
The keen-eyed obituary-creepers among us will point out that, of all the contributors to Vanilla I Knew Buffalo Bill, back in 1987, Jeremy Gluck is the only one still alive. Is it relevant? I suppose it adds a little pressure to the legacy follow-up, or maybe it takes some off. This is building up to be a 26 year version of Chinese Democracy, but Slash is dead rather than trying to remain relevant in side projects. It kind of stands to reason that Memory Deluxe would be somewhat entrenched in death and regret, then. With track titles like Old Father Death, Blood, Killer, and Sleeping Sleeping, you could probably be forgiven for jumping to conclusions, but hold your horses… the would-be single from this LP, We Will Fall Hard is nothing like the nihilistic, similarly-named Stooges track. It’s an upbeat, minimal, little love song, or at least that’s what I got out of it.
There are a few standouts for me as far as I Still Know What You Did Last Buffalo Bill goes. Evelyn, for one, is pure old school indie without the drawbacks of sounding like it was made in a coal miner’s shed. It’s all the good of the old but with modern production values. It’s quirky, and interesting in a way I haven’t heard in a while. Rainshowers could very easily be a Stones B-side from back before Jagger and Richards gave-up on writing decent songs. There’s a slight country vibe to it, but that, in my mind only cements my first thought. It’s cool, but in the sense that your parents used to use it, back when saying something was cool was actually cool. Late and Lonely meets somewhere between the Stones and New York Dolls, but a hell of a lot tidier. It’s well worth a listen to anyone who gets nostalgic talking about the heyday before music became industry, when there was still heart in being poor, out of work, and one of those romantic, struggling musicians. Sleeping Sleeping is steeped in style, like a rock n’ roll gypsy’s take on Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive Soundtrack but I’m not sure if there’s much more to it than that.
Some of it is a bit wanky and at times, the lyrics are a little ropey for my tolerances, but I’ll leave you to decide on that yourself rather than go into specifics here and tint your perspective. I will say for sure, that this album sounds better the second time you hear it. It’s coming from way out in left field if you’re getting your daily sustenance from empty musical calories in the trash you’ll most likely be consuming, so do give it two chances if you’re up for something different.
All in all, Memory Deluxe: I Knew Buffalo Bill 2, The Legend of Curly’s Gold has some tidy guitar work, husky vocals, and solid production values. Is it the modern classic other reviewers have built it up to be? I don’t think so, but it’s far better than mediocre and these days, that’s about all you can hope for.
I’m holding my breath for Buffalo Bill with a Vengeance, or maybe Buffalo Bill 3: Beyond the Thunderdome. They haven’t decided on a title just yet, but it should be due out in 2062.