The appeal of Buck Stanley lies in a very specific combination — a visceral amalgam of honky-tonk gallop and spaghetti Western zeal paired with a generous amount of smart-aleck charm. It’s a formula that has always elevated the band’s somewhat generic rock ‘n’ roll, a strength that shines on this self-titled EP.
What: Buck Stanley (EP Release)
Where: New Brookland Tavern, 122 State St.
When: 9 p.m., Friday, March 21
With: Thee Knee Jerks, The Wage Slaves, T.C. Costello
Price: $5, $8 under 21
More Info: newbrooklandtavern.com
Fronted by the deep-throated and sharp-tongued Stan Gardner, more often seen behind a drum kit, Buck Stanley is rounded out by Jam Room head honcho Jay Matheson on bass, Sarah Quick on fiddle, John Furr on lead guitar, and Troy Tague on drums, all of whom deliver raucous energy and acute professionalism to tunes that would otherwise feel a bit too paint-by-numbers.
Despite the talent on hand, the most striking element here is Gardner’s lyrics; his words pull no punches in their middle-class lampooning. “Healed” comes across as an agnostic sneer at true believers, while songs like “Without You,” “S O B,” and “Suburban Home” take direct aim at the comfy consumerism of most of the group’s Gen-X fan base. Gardner knows how to sell his barbs, howling and whistling like a grizzled carnival barker, but the net effect narrows the album’s appeal, undermining the band’s populist sound.
But once you’re wrapped up in these infectious songs, it’s hard not to laugh along.
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