Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Melody Maker | Album | 28 March 1987


Interesting. It's a vague, ornamental word, generally employed to describe something of curiously indefinable importance. “I Knew Buffalo Bill” is of interest partly because, alongside one-time Barracudas figurehead Jeremy Gluck, it features a catalogue of names recognisable to even the less astute observers of the darker side of indie world.

Gluck's senior sidekick is Nikki Sudden. On "Gone Free", a song rippling with acoustic muscles, the pair are the only performers. Elsewhere, they are joined by Sudden's former Swell Maps cohort Epic Soundtracks, one-time Birthday Party guitarist Rowland S Howard and The Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Soundtracks and Howard are both now with Crime And The City Solution.

Pierce's slide guitar shivers throughout "Hymn", a track of stilted intensity, while Howard takes on a similarly uplifting role in "Time Undone", electric trickery outpacing the soothing, booming drum and clicking sticks. From the controlled string bending of "Looking For A Place To Fall" to the discordant thrash of "All My Secrets", each selection is a caustic campfire ballad. Each instrument, down to the violin and the tambourine, have parts to play. Each input, however tiny, is essential to the drama. The result is a foreboding atmosphere, a desperation designed for bitter tales of hopes and dreams and genocides.

"I Knew Buffalo Bill" could be the most significant project any of these men have been involved in. It's not simply interesting, it's simply crushing.

sidebarmail sidebarfacebook sidebartwitter