Stay Out Late (2018)

... read moreBuxton's dusty psych-Americana underwent something of a sea change on 2015's Half a Native, streamlining the Houston band's rougher edges into a more pastoral indie pop approach and downplaying their country roots. While the progression of their previous albums saw them gradually trending in this...

Review

Buxton's dusty psych-Americana underwent something of a sea change on 2015's Half a Native, streamlining the Houston band's rougher edges into a more pastoral indie pop approach and downplaying their country roots. While the progression of their previous albums saw them gradually trending in this direction, their partnership with producer Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Devendra Banhart) helped push them toward a more dramatic refresh. Arriving three years later, Stay Out Late rolls on down that same highway, albeit with even more emphasis on vintage synth sounds and textural electronic adornments. Decamping to Sonic Ranch, a highly regarded destination studio near El Paso, Buxton resumed their collaboration with Monahan, spinning frontman Sergio Trevino's peculiar missives into dreamy golden-hued pop with soft hints of Texan spirit here and there. Prior to writing these 11 tracks, Trevino cites the discovery of Talk Talk's 1991 post-rock masterstroke, Laughing Stock, as a significant source of inspiration. It's an interesting influence to apply to their music, but with that in mind, it can certainly be heard in the introspective writing and overall experimental tone. There are a number of standouts here including the lush synth-led opener, "This Place Reminds Me of You," the lovely and ethereal "Haunt You," and exploratory closer, "Green of Endless Pines." Occasional guitar-based rockers like "Inside Out" and "Hole Heart" find their rightful place in the album sequence, but for this outing at least, Buxton are at the strongest working in the textural, reflective pop mode of Talk Talk, the Blue Nile, and other acts of similar elegance. ~ Timothy Monger