Jeffery Drag Records / Self-Released – March 6th, 2015
Having really enjoyed Buffalo Rodeo’s last release, Home Videos, it was exciting to see that they were planning to release a new EP this week. Where the strength of their last album resided in their hard-driving tempos and hefty choruses, 123 Water finds its success in breezy psych-pop melodies and harmonies. The album starts off with whispers and falsetto vocals, and wastes no time getting into the catchy chorus – “Lana (Del Rey)” is a totally appropriate way of starting off the album and setting the tone of the spacey EP. “Butterfly Knife” is a small bit more like their previous material, in the way the chorus is propelled, but then opens up to a dreamier, laid-back feel. “Blue Sky” is everything that a single should be for a release like this – the verse rolls effortlessly into the refrain, which is then carried out with some really smart harmonies and progressions. The fourth track, “Always Want it Back,” is perhaps the most spacey track on the album, and does a nice job setting up the track that follows it. “All Ears” calls back to Home Videos, splitting male and female vocals, lilting and rolling before an extended chromatic descent carries the song to its end. “Love in a Garden” carries over a little of this chromaticism for its bridge, and ties everything together nicely with one of the catchier choruses of the album. Though they’ve made a departure from the sound of their last EP, they have certainly maintained their knack for good hooks and catchy melodies. And while the psych-pop of 123 Water might be a new sound to my ears, Buffalo Rodeo sounds entirely comfortable here – they navigate these songs craftily and with ease.
Tracks I Liked? Lana (Del Rey)!, Butterfly Knife!!, Blue Sky!!!, All Ears!, Love in a Garden!!
Ben Southworth – March 6th, 2015 – Park Avenue
Genre: Super-Catchy Rock
I’ll start this review by saying that this is one my favorite EPs I’ve heard from a Kentucky band in a good bit. Based out of Bowling Green, this group has a sound that lives up to a name like “Buffalo Rodeo” – it’s big, energetic, and just as fun as I’d guess that particular event would be. Not only is the recording fidelity great on this record, thanks in part to Greyskull Recordings, but the songs themselves – particularly the choruses – are fetching, to say the least. The pairing of the male/female vocals of lead singer Zach Preston and synthesizerist Jordan Reynolds makes for a great mix, and the addition of a higher vocal range from Reynolds is often what pushes the songs to the next level of intensity. Like Heavy Chase (who I think were also recorded at Greyskull, and are fellow members of the Bowling Green area,) this band knows how and when to throw their backs into their songs. On this release, Buffalo Rodeo has a way of just flowing from verse to chorus and back again in a way that they don’t have to tell you “Okay, we’re going to the chorus now,” but when they’ve made it there, you definitely know. So, upon some of the arrival points – especially the final choruses of songs like “Compass” and “Holly” – the band has accumulated several tracks of vocals, guitars, keyboards, and drums into something that sounds pretty huge and experienced. If you’re wanting an EP that gives you just under a half hour of music that doesn’t hold much back, look no further – these guys have got their foot on the gas for the duration.
Tracks I Recommend: (Really, all of them, but here’s my breakdown) Treehouse!!!, Compass!!!, Remington!, Holly!!, The Child in Me!, My Window!!
– Ben Southworth
The first record to get sent my way from the far reaches of Bowling Green – Heavy Chase’s Spinning in Circles – is a great one. The album opens up with the title track, starting out as a pretty sedated, mid-tempo sound that blooms into a mass of distorted guitars and soaring vocals by the end of its five minutes. The remainder of the EP moves along with the same sort of intensity – the fourth track, Hold On, is especially full of high energy, and in the last minute or so, when the background vocals echo the guitar riff, it’s a simple but highly effective move. If you’re familiar with other Kentucky music that’s going on right now, you might see what I mean when I say that they’ve got a bit of a sound like Lexington’s Astor Place Riot, especially in the way that Rigdon’s voice seems to find some of the more interesting notes in each chord. The rest of the band is rounded out by guitarists Jared McKinney and Jason Sadler, and by a Lexington bred rhythm section in brothers Tom and Sean Elwood on bass and drums, respectively. This album doesn’t do anything really new or out there, but I think that’s a good thing in this case – the songs really hit all the right things, and I’m sure it’d be great to see these guys live. If you’re a fan of high-energy rock, this would be a good album for you to dig into, especially when thinking about supporting your local music scene.
Tracks I Liked: Spinning in Circles!!, Mad Cap!, Hold On!!, Color!!
Check these guys out elsewhere:
– Ben Southworth