Touch the Buffalo’s New Release “Bodhicitta” 

Touch the Buffalo’s new release Bodhicitta helps the Arlington, Virginia-based band stake a claim as one of the most substantive and idiosyncratic alt-rock indie acts hitting the scene in many moons. The four-track EP spans a surprising gamut of sounds for a brief release that attests to the band’s eclectic stylistic range. However, despite that, Touch the Buffalo never comes across as if they’re taking on too much; their grasp never exceeds their reach. Bodhicitta accomplishes in four songs what other bands cannot pull off in twice that number and does so without pretentious affectation.

URL: https://www.touchthebuffalo.com/

The near-drone achieved by the guitar powering “This City’s Burning” helps open Bodhicitta on an assertive note. However, it never stays locked into that single groove for the song’s duration, and the shifts, when they come, diversify the track in the right direction. The bridge is especially effective, varying the song’s insistent tempo, and it concludes with a fiery and extended lead guitar solo. The lyrics are enigmatic. Despite the lack of specificity, Buffalo’s writing practically cries out with urgency and desperation. It has an excellent running time for an opener.

“In Six Heads About It” is an appropriate title for a cut that’s a bit of a jack of all trades. The fluctuating dynamics of the arrangement, veering from solo mandolin playing into muscular alt-rock with mandolin providing underpinning, will keep you engaged. Don’t worry that it comes off like a hodgepodge because it doesn’t. It’s quirky, without question, but the union of a traditional acoustic instrument with a powerful alternative rock electric guitar is a remarkable success. Crowning it all is a vocal arrangement that quite nicely accentuates its unusual melodic strengths.

Touch the Buffalo turn their focus toward balladry with “The Carpenter and the Nurse”. They incorporate piano into a musical narrative for the first time, and its pairing with their customary electric guitar produces dramatic new heights. Emotive vocals are a track-by-track strength for the band, and “The Carpenter and the Nurse” may be the EP’s finest example of vocals and an instrumental arrangement working together toward a common end. It’s notable as well that it barely breaks the four-minute mark yet achieves improbable gravitas despite that short running time.

APPLE MUSIC: https://music.apple.com/us/album/bodhicitta-ep/1731086722

Lyricism predominates “Hope’s Song”. Touch the Buffalo sneaks in inklings of their alternative rock power as the track progresses, but much of the cut builds around the band’s penchant for mandolin and emphasizes singer/songwriter attributes above all else. The vocal melody is quite beguiling. It concludes Bodhicitta on a gentle note and illustrates its impressive diversity. Showcasing the ability to manifest four distinct musical faces in such a convincing fashion makes a strong case for Touch the Buffalo being one of the most promising musical acts, in any genre, with a 2024 release. They never sound out of their depth with any of the challenging arrangements and manipulate dynamics with a seasoned skill that belies that relative youth. Let’s hope they turn their attention soon to a full-length release as they come across as a band capable of making a substantive statement with a long-form work.

Rachel Townsend

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