Buttercup are one of those bands that have been around for a while and yet have flown under the radar, which is a mystery to me. This newest offering, Battle Of Flowers – which is their seventh (!) – is a firm slab of “rock” which deserves to be above the fray.
Buttercup has been together for the last 15 years; not just as a band, but as a performance art collective, honing their craft in around their home base of San Antonio, Texas. Singer Erik Sanden, guitarist Joe Reyes and bass player Odie are the original core of this band and they, along with drummer Emilio Navaira and his brother, guitarist Diego Navaira, have created something special with this 12-track album (it should be noted that the Navaira brothers left the project immediately after recording, as their own band, The Last Bandoleros, were called upon to open up for Sting on his U.S. & European tours).
Kicking off with a stop-start hard rocker, “Let It Drop”, the call and response vocals and powerhouse guitars are an instant ear-opener; “Gud Girls” has a noise-wipeout feel (especially toward the end) but is irresistible and catchy with the tension and the sonics in the guitars are outstanding; “Champagne From Spain” is an acoustic piece with Erik Sanden’s very dry vocals, done to great effect and some gripping “Texas style” guitar slides (listen for it) and “Swallow Flowers” is a perfect companion to “Champagne…” as it’s acoustic, slow and mournful. While “Vicious Rewind” is less than two minutes, it’s one of the album’s standouts as it’s a simply perfect pop track (listen to that waltz-time break with the harmonies – it reminds me in places of the Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd) and “Don’t Go It Alone” is another piece of stellar pop with a lot of heart and meaning in its lyrical message.
With a fitting production job by Larry Crane (who has worked in the past with the likes of the late Elliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney, etc.) and a line-drawing album cover inspired by The Beatles’ Revolver, Buttercup have ensured that they delivered a total package. Which is what they have done – most importantly, evidenced by the music contained within.
Battle Of Flowers will be released on Friday, April 14th, 2017