Few bands can take the best chunks of the various hard rock subgenres and present them in a coherent, enjoyable manner. Trying to jump from punk to doom to boogie rock or whatever on one record (or one song) can be a chore for the listener, much less for the performer.
This isn’t an issue for Buffalo’s Tines, who sound completely at home blending heavy, ambitious, catchy and pleasantly reverent hard rock on their new two song 7” EP.
Side A features “Thin Blue Line”, which opens with a Thin Lizzy-esque guitar dual leading to a boppy, organ-drenched verse and a big hook powered by Kelly Murphy’s climbing vocal. Murphy’s voice has a weathered roughness that she handles with seasoned melodic control.
Guitarist Glenn Szymanski gets to shine with a solo spot that would make Dave Murray’s smile even rosier than usual. “Thin Blue Line” never loses steam and has the energy of a proper album or concert opener.
A title like “Thin Blue Line” might make you think the song is about the police, but I’d guess it’s just a coincidence. Whatever the meaning is, it’s buried under a lot of talk of torture, specters, hexes and terraces on a hill. Spooky, fun stuff to sing along with!
Side B includes “Rock and Roll Witness Protection Program”, which rollicks with the energy of Rainbow’s “Kill The King” before taking a heavy turn, transporting onto a psychedelic sitar ride and hitting a doomy, punishing breakdown before coming home with organ-driven speed.
There’s even more short twists and turns as Tines packs a whole lot into a very well composed song that seems like it must be longer than 4:36.
Tines’ sound can most broadly be described as 70s hard rock, but we’re talking about the most high energy, well curated set. Besides the aforementioned bands, notes of UFO, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath and other heavyweights can be found. It’s one of the most exciting rock eras, and Tines is positioned to take advantage of this underused rock and roll playbook in a way that’s very much their own.
Collectively, Tines has at least 60 years of experience in the punk and DIY scene, and that’s just looking at Murphy, Szymanski and bassist Mike Hermann’s work. While their music is reminiscent of the guitar gods and rock and roll heroes of yore, Tines’ punk roots are obvious in their approach and sound. Some of their influences may be larger than life, but Tines retains a grounded, earthy quality that would feel at home in any weird basement venue.
With so much musical ground covered on this 7”, I’m curious to hear how Tines will take on future releases. If Tines focuses on authentic, uptempo 70s hard rock that flirts with other genres, I’m totally here for it. If they choose to go take a more experimental, progressive or unexpected turn, that’s a rock and roll ride I’m ready to take, too.