Nothing Here Seems Strange
New West Records
Buxton’s music has never quite fit into a single genre. Broadly labeled as “Americana,” the band–which got its start in the Houston area in 2003–steadily built a name for itself with solid live shows, and the organic nature of the band’s instrumentation–which includes banjos, mandolin, and multiple guitars–coupled with by-the-numbers harmonies, draws listeners in to its down-home sound. On its long-awaited third full-length, Buxton takes a leap into an increasingly crowded pool of like-minded musicians and does its best to tread water with the rest of the pack.
Lead single “Boy Of Nine,” “Body Count,” and “Oh My Boy” best showcase the band’s influences: moody folk, bluegrass, and the ever-present indie rock–even some 80s college rock–are heard throughout the album. The latter two are precisely what helps to separate the band–vocalist/guitarist Sergio Trevino, guitarist Jason Willis, bassist Chris Wise, drummer Justin Terrell, guitarist/vocalist/organist Austin Sepulvado, and keyboardist/vocalist Hayley Barnes–from its better-known peers. While Nothing Here Seems Strange will undoubtedly appeal to those who are a little bit more country than they are rock’n'roll, the album’s edgier moments (“Blown A Fuse,” “Down In The Valley”) are firmly directed toward listeners much like the band themselves: open-minded music fans.
I have written previously that Buxton is the closest thing Houston has to Wilco, and Nothing Here Seems Strange reinforces that sentiment and proves Buxton to be a hard-working band, unafraid of experimentation, and willing to take risks in its songwriting. Whether that translates to massive sales is anyone’s guess. Regardless, Nothing Here Seems Strange is a step forward in a hopefully long and prosperous career.
Buxton celebrates the release of Nothing Here Seems Strange this Saturday (2.4.12) at Fitzgerald’s before heading out for a tour.