Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, photo Lily Brown

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard Debut Album And Tour Northern Dates

by Geoff Ford

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, one of the most talked-about new bands in the UK, have just released their heavily-anticipated debut album Backhand Deals, on 25 February, through independent label Communion Records. The band will be touring through April with a number of dates at venues across the north.

Since forming in 2017, vocalist and guitarist Tom Rees, brother Eddie (bass), Zac White (guitars) and drummer Ethan Hurst have garnered an ever-growing fanbase with their bright and lively modern Indie sound. With repeated plays across the BBC’s Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6 Music, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard were drawing large crowds to the live shows, before the pandemic intervened, and they are now heading out on tour again.

With Backhand Deals, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have ripped up the rule book. A rejection of rock music’s more archaic ideals, their debut album plunges into Tom Rees’ exploration of honesty and authenticity and untangles what it means to be a ‘rock star’. The key to this demystification is Rees’ sharp wit, using sarcasm and humour to keep the listener in limbo and, in turn, leading their audience to face their own thoughts.

Backhand Deals is a practice in subverting the ideology of rock music as something that needs to be ‘brought back from the dead,’ says Rees. “Rock should be about enjoying yourself honestly, whether that’s washing the dishes, sweeping the yard, or complaining about whoever got elected. Rock is a sweeping power and is attributed to anyone who performs art honestly, from Lizzo feeling good as hell to AC/DC riding down a highway to hell. The honesty is the same, and the honesty prevails.

“The record allowed us to discuss the thoughts we have about our lives and the lives of people everywhere whilst openly admitting that we know nothing and that we’re just part-time-opinion-havers. The longer we’re a band, I realise that all we ever want to do is effect change in people’s lives and to do that disingenuously would make me feel slimy.

“So, let’s do it honestly in any way possible. Rock isn’t dead, it doesn’t need ‘resurrecting’ or ‘regurgitating’; it needs acknowledging for what it is, and it’s everywhere. If we should ever be considered a band that is ‘bringing rock music back’ I think I would shed a tear. Rock should be moving forwards, not backwards.”

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Tom Rees, Ethan Hurst, Zac White and Eddie Rees, photo Lily Brown

Opening track New Age Millenium Magic sets the bar high with a great riff and guitar licks that could have graced any rock genre over the past 50 years while still sounding fresh. The track has been well received since it was released as the first taster for the album some months back.

Good Day has a lighter, almost country-rock, feel while protest song Crescent Man vs Demolition Dan, inspired by real-life politics, cuts a harder edge. The single struck a chord in Rees’ local community where a beloved street of independent businesses was demolished, despite the protests, and the narrative follows a fictional superhero Crescent Man and the villainous Demolition Dan.

“There’s a street in Cardiff, called Guildford Crescent, that was recently demolished to make way for some high-rise monstrosity and left a long line of independent businesses dead and buried,” Rees explains. “Cardiff is kind of morphing into such a culturally devoid hellscape, littered with boarded up venues and sun-blocking student residencies, that the only solution the mind can conjure is relying on the intervention of some all-powerful superhero capable of turning back time or maybe allocating public funds responsibly.

“Most annoyingly while we all acknowledge that a superhero could never exist, the villain still does, they knocked down an established music venue and a family-owned restaurant, leaving the facade to tremble in the shadow of what antiquated structure will presumably tower over it, much like how a fox would leave an excess of dead chickens lying in the pen, just to remind you who’s boss. The situation seems to be getting bleaker and bleaker and, with every failed protest, I’m increasingly of the opinion that anyone who believes in effective protest (on this matter at least) might as well believe in superheroes. Even then, I still think the fat cats would get one on us.

“All this said, though, I certainly don’t know what the answer is. If protest doesn’t work then what will? We’re not all going to run for office in a hurry, or maybe we should? Should I practise that thumb-on-top-of-your-fist-I’m-an-honest-and-non-confrontational-person hand gesture thing? I don’t even know how to rack up expenses!” he laughs.

The soulful Yourself shows a more laidback and reflective side to the band and features Tom Rees on piano. “Basically,” he says, “I had never realised how incapable I am of living by myself until my girlfriend Carlota went to live in Venice for three months to work at the Biennale. I found myself eating corn flakes dry out of the box for dinner, just thumbing them in my gob asking myself where it all went wrong. It’s natural to miss someone of course though I think I took it to new heights.

“This one’s about my reluctance to let in about those feelings to her, though, big ‘naaaah, I’m totally fine. I’m doing great!’ vibes, a real denial of true feelings. I didn’t think I was capable of that until this all happened, so it’s good to know I’m just as dysfunctional as everyone else,” he laughs. “Not to mention, I think it’s still potentially problematic that the first time I had a real go at writing a love song it was kind of all about me, anyway. Go figure!”

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, Backhand Deals

The latest track to be released, ahead of the album, is Break Right In. “I feel like, especially in Britain, our obsession with social convention and politeness has diluted the effectiveness of protest,” says Rees. “Institutions have become accustomed to the idea of protest, as we know, it so it’s become an event – like Carnival or T in the Park – when it should be a response to a breach of the present, overarching social contract we all abide to. When the social contract is broken by those who we put in power to maintain it, who says you can’t go and smash up an M&S? All bets are off, right?

The video for Break Right In is the first part of a two-part film and is the band’s second collaboration with director Will Clark, who also directed the Sunny Delight-inspired video for You. Speaking about the video, Rees says: “Nothing quite illuminates the unjust society we live in, riddled with bad actors and nefarious despots seeking to limit our freedoms and starve us economically, like four young men playing dress-up in a massive mansion! All joking aside, Will Clark is a genius.

Backhand Deals comes as a breath of fresh air, so be prepared to hear a lot more of Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard in the weeks, months and years to come.

Backhand Deals track listing:

1. New Age Millennial Magic

2. Good Day

3. Crescent Man vs Demolition Dan

4. Faking A Living

5. Yourself

6. Break Right In

7. On The Kill Again

8. You

9. Feel The Change!

10. Demolition Song

11. A Passionate Life

Across their previous tours, the band have made fans in tour mates from The Magic Gang to Miles Kane and were set to support Noel Gallagher, another on a growing list of fans, at the Royal Albert Hall before the coronavirus struck.

 

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – northern spring 2022 UK tour dates;

Saturday 9 April, Liverpool, Arts Club

Friday 22 April, Manchester YES (The Pink Room)

Saturday 23 April, Leeds, Brudenell Social Club

 For more information and tickets, please visit https://buzzardbuzzardbuzzard.com/tour