When we last heard from Jake Smith, who makes music as the White Buffalo, he had put out “Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways,” a loosely thematic song cycle with few happy endings. His new record returns to individual songs that largely take their bearings from the album’s title. There’s a tall tale here (“Chico,” a dark narrative of a drug deal and revenge gone bad), a jeremiad (“Modern Times”) there. But Smith mainly takes up matters of the heart. He begins (the galloping cowpunk of “Dark Days”) and ends there (the fervent gospel of “Come on Love, Come on In”). And he does so with his typically blunt intensity (“your love is a [expletive] revelation,” he growls on “Home Is in Your Arms”) his barrel-chested voice by turns keening and rumbling amidst the power-roots blast of his band. With “Love and the Death of Damnation,” the White Buffalo continues to carve out a space that is truly his own.
ESSENTIAL “Home Is in Your Arms”Stuart Munro can be reached at email@example.com.