Living in an era where all of history’s music is at our fingertips, we’re constantly bombarded – spoiled almost – to the point where you may even get smothered if you’re not careful. Seeing the wood for the trees has become a real challenge, yet every once in a while, there’s a band that jumps out above the rest, grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.
I’m referring to Rum Buffalo, a seven-piece powerhouse collective – formed by Jake Alexander Stevens – arising from the streets of London, boasting a brass section that will blow your socks off. Taking a closer look at their latest harbinger, Screama Preacha, we see the act shift gears once again. Sounding as though they prefer using an empty Boeing hangar as their recording studio, the band have produced yet another larger-than-life headbanger.
Their sound seems to be growing bigger and darker as time unfolds, bringing a whole new intensity to the table. What struck me most about Screama Preacha is how the arrangement accentuates this reverberating space by approaching the brass section in a staccato manner (reminiscent of King Krule’s A Lizard State), with lead singer Stevens’ distortion-drenched vocals cutting through like a knife, while powerful drums fill up the mix alongside James Wilson’s growling bass. Although Kathika’s featured verse may have felt a little out of place at first, in retrospect, it does showcase the adventurous nature of the band and serves the broader structure of the song. After making a Django Reinhardt-esque detour, Rum Buffalo brings their listeners back home, riffs out the central hook and concludes the track, only to leave us desperately searching for that repeat button.
When digging deeper into Rum Buffalo’s history, their eclectic nature becomes apparent. They started at the bottom as a gypsy jazz act playing for spare change while busking in the streets of Covent Garden. As unambitious as that initial plan may have been, they soon got offered gigs, quickly had to come up with a name and sprouted Rum Buffalo into existence. Watching this band evolve over the years has been an exciting journey so far, with last year’s intermediate highlight being their memorable gig at Glastonbury Festival. Now, with new music in their pocket, I’m pretty convinced they’re going to slaughter many more festivals to come.
Needless to say, we’ll definitely be hearing more from Vodka Redbull. Eh, I mean Rum Buffalo! In the meantime, feast your ears on their latest offering, Screama Preacha, right here: