The Buckleys is a trio of siblings from Byron Bay, New South Wales. Lead singer and songwriter Sarah Grace also plays acoustic guitar; Lachlan is on electric and steel guitar, and Molly plays mandolin and also sings. They have impressed the music industry and fans alike since the release of their debut single and the title track of this album, ‘Daydream’, through singles ‘I’m Comin’ for Ya (Love)’, ‘Money’ and ‘Breathe’.
The Buckleys grew up in a musical family and have a range of musical influences; however, it was at the Tamworth Country Music Festival that they first performed together, busking. One could ask if The Buckleys are strictly country – and the answer is no. Are they strictly not country? No. What has been true about them, from the start, is that they’re merchants of joy, much like another well-known sibling band, The McClymonts. What’s also true is that there’s not a bar in any of the songs on Daydream that doesn’t sound like they completely relish what they’re doing, which is not to say that they happy and upbeat on every song, because not every song calls for it, more that their love for what they do can be heard in the care they take with their songs. Musically they find the nuances to match what’s going on in the lyrics, and there’s not a second when their attention slips. They take their work seriously and that enables them to find space in their performances to allow themselves to just be there and embrace the experience.
The term ‘hippie country’ has been used to describe The Buckleys’ music, and there is some of a California rock vibe about the music – but only some. Because the one thing that negates the ‘hippie’ description is that these songs are so tightly constructed and performed, and Sarah Grace is so articulate as a singer, that it’s very hard to imagine The Buckleys chilling out long enough to be considered flower children. There is, admittedly, an ease about the band’s sound – but it’s the sort of ease that comes when you’ve done the work and you know it. There’s no need to worry about not hitting your mark because you made that mark and you know exactly where it is.
The instruments in these songs are handled beautifully and cleanly, melding in a way that sounds casual yet polished – no doubt the result of the band members growing up together playing music, but also because the band cares about their audience. Given they’ve been a band for a few years, they could have released an album before this. They were, most likely, ready because songs as well done as these don’t spring fully formed from a lotus flower – they’ve been honing this craft for years, even though they’re all still teenagers. That suggests they wanted to be more ready; they wanted to make sure they could put out something that would be a great experience. That would, even, be joyful to listen to. The Buckleys could perform the ASX listings and it would be a very pleasant thing to hear. Thankfully there are far nicer lyrics on Daydream, and you can choose to daydream along to it, or listen carefully, and either way you’ll reach the end of the album enriched.
Daydream is out now through Petrol Records/Universal Music Australia.