On their third New West album Stay Out Late, Houston’s Buxton deliver another set of emotionally engaging songcraft, with an organic warmth that affirms the subtle musical chemistry that’s been honed over the years of the band’s existence. Buxton’s spacious sound is ideally suited to the vivid lyrical insights of singer/guitarist Sergio Trevino, whose restless romanticism is reflected in such indelible new tunes as “This Place Reminds Me of You,” “Jan,” “Haunt You” and “Hanging On the Coast.”
Trevino credits the three-year gap between Buxton albums to a bout of writer’s block he battled following Half A Native. “It was weird not being able to write,” Trevino observes. “I was writing songs, but they were nothing I felt good about bringing to the band. Often I’d feel like it was due to the fact that I was happy, with no angst or turmoil to sing about. I was about to get married, and I had built a studio behind my house, and I had access to everything I needed to be creative, but I wasn’t coming up with anything. It was a year before something came out that felt like a natural step forward. I wrote ‘New World’ for my wife before we got married, and that opened the gate for the songs on Stay Out Late.”
Another key factor in Trevino’s getting back in touch with inspiration was his discovery ofTalk Talk‘s visionary 1991 post-rock album Laughing Stock. The album was given to Trevino by a friend while on vacation in California, and he was moved and inspired by the time he spent listening to it while surrounded by a forest full of redwoods. “To be confronted and surrounded by that kind of beauty and vision was humbling for me,” he recalls, “and it gave me something to shoot for. There are those records that can completely scramble your trajectory as a writer. Finding something so clear and yet undefinable. Killing your idols has always been a motto of mine, make something better than the people you admire, but with Talk Talk it’s like trying to kill a ghost.”
In addition to chronicling the evolution of Trevino’s distinctive songwriting, Stay Out Late showcases the instinctive musical rapport that the band has developed over the years. “If you play together long enough, you get an understanding that’s very similar to a family,” Trevino notes. “We’ve had our highs and lows, our successes and failures. It’s been a huge investment of time and dedication, but I’d do it all over again without thinking twice.”
Trevino describes his, and the band’s, approach, as instinctive. “I don’t write with a purpose or an agenda,” he explains. “But once a tone is set, I follow it and try to turn it into something real and relatable. Looking at Stay Out Late now, I think it’s a reflective album. It’s almost like looking at your past in a mirror. Looking back at time, love, music and growing older. It’s cryptic like most Buxton albums, with a few unintentional lighter moments that create a balance. I think that a lot of this album is about being comfortable in one’s own skin.