By Tanner Meadows
Local Music Journalist
Artist: Roaming Herds of Buffalo
Album: Mountain Rabbit
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Seattle based pop-rockers, Roaming Herds of Buffalo (RHOB), are a band that is comfortable in its variety. Continually experimenting with their sound, the band never fails to deliver something unique, and are competent in the delivery. Each of their records feels distinguished in concept, instrumentation, etc.
Their 2013 release, Alien Canyons, focuses on spacey, atmospheric sounds layered on top of one another, mixed with just a bit of twang, to create a kind of otherworldly, western space rock. The band has a knack for steadily intensifying rock ballads. In contrast, Apocalypse Beach, the groups subsequent release, is more heavily influenced by their garage-rock roots. RHOB’s latest, Mountain Rabbit, takes elements from their previous records and drenches them in a psychedelic intensity.
RHOB excels in opening their songs in a hallucinogenic, meandering sluggishness and moving from there into driven, permeating soundscapes of soaring, electric guitar, a lot of their songs taking on a near rock-opera form, “Into The Void Part 2” and “Raygun,” being perfect examples. The sixth track, “Brother,” one of the most listenable songs on the album, takes a more straightforward, “guitar music” approach.
A fuzzy backdrop of distortion lends to a dreaminess, wrapped neatly in a lyric methodically delivered, “Brother I swear that I saw you last night in a dream,” creating an overall sense of magical realism. At the core of RHOB’s sound is a blend of chugging driven, psychedelic rock and the admirable desire to do weird stuff.
Unfortunately, some tracks are duds. “Love U Can’t Deny” is a pop song that sounds cheaper than it does strange, outweighing whatever it lends to the band’s sonic variety. However, that isn’t to say they should shy from that style. The eponymous tenth track, “Mountain Rabbit,” a spacey, synthy departure from the guitar focused tracks, hones in on atmospheric sound-building, and starts off sounding just a little bit like a jingle that might play before some 90s educational program, but in a cool way.
Overall, if you want to listen to something you wouldn’t normally hear, listen to Mountain Rabbit.