Buxton – Half A Native
Buxton are a group from Houston who make folk inspired alternative indie rock with Americana elements interspersed throughout. Half A Native combines the various genres that the group draws from (i.e Americana, honky-tonk, alt-country, psychedelia) with a careful presence of songwriting and craftsmanship that makes for easy listening.
What works well for Buxton on this album is the aforementioned mix of genre that allows these gentlemen to flourish in several different directions while staying under the umbrella of indie rock. Therefore, it’s only fitting that each of the standout tracks all border on different directions. Take immediately emotive and lush title track “Half A Native” for an example of the folksy direction this band takes. This song is combines delicate acoustic guitar riffs with twangy slide guitar and Sergio Trevino’s bluesy vocals to make for a hauntingly beautiful listening experience; this song is powerful in its subtlety. Personally, this is where Buxton’s music comes across the strongest, Trevino’s lyrics are able to shine through clearly and with distinction.
While gentle folk is one direction that lets the band shine, they also show their strength in other genres. Early song “Good As Gone” shows them leaning towards more straightforward rock and roll, with a bit of campy piano that bounces through the track. Trevino’s vocals are central in the mix, but the snarling electric guitar kicks up now and again, taking the reigns and steering us to rock. Near the end of the album they go full honky-tonk alt-country with “Icebreaker,” which is full of twang and Trevino spinning fast lyrics in a southern drawl, throwing around quaint phrases like “whistlin’ Dixie,” accompanied by full on twang-filled guitars and a bluesy bass line. That campy piano also rejoins the band, and this song kind of makes you just want to throw on some cowboy boots and a hat and dance along with the band as they get down.
The easy listening makes this a quaint and enjoyable album, but this same quality leaves me a little underwhelmed along the way. Some songs soar above and create a notable and lasting impression for this band, but others get a little lost in the mix. Half A Native shows promise for this group of gentlemen, and I will be looking out for what the future holds for them.