HomeMusicTouch the Buffalo’s “Bodhicitta”

Touch the Buffalo’s “Bodhicitta”

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Arlington, Virginia’s Touch the Buffalo has made significant inroads into the vibrant Washington D.C. music scene within a short timeframe. Their outstanding songwriting talents and superior musicianship carry the day rather than cheap gimmickry. The four-piece built themselves from a singer/songwriter-directed unit when first forming in 2016 into the indie grunge-inspired act we hear today. They accomplished that without losing their writing vision, and by successfully incorporating viable components from each iteration into the current unit. Their new EP Bodhicitta reflects that ongoing evolution while firmly establishing them within the competitive Washington D.C. music scene and beyond. 

“This City’s Burning” opens with classic lines. “This city’s burning/but I have no place to go/The future’s coming/and I’m moving way too slow” sets an urgent tone matched by the frantic guitar-fueled backing. The song maintains an up-tempo pace that they spike with brief and occasional full-stops. Those moments give the track an additional dramatic edge that helps elevate its standing. Touch the Buffalo concludes the cut with a scintillating guitar solo. It’s a great rock track.

They demonstrate their elastic versatility with the second track. “In Six Heads About It” begins with an improbable mandolin before the alt-rock trappings rise to the surface. Touch the Buffalo never abandons the mandolin entirely, it plays a key musical role throughout the track, but they make it work alongside the heavy rock firepower they inevitably display. Their vocal arrangement for the song is more complex than we heard with the opener but no less successful. “The Carpenter and the Nurse” allows them to explore deeper songwriting without jettisoning the core sound established in the opening tracks. 

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/1FtZRvv1iguPV23JrGhgsT

They introduce piano from the band’s musical toolkit. The piano playing gives “The Carpenter and the Nurse” an elegant sense of movement that the band punctuates with judicious contributions from other instruments. The deeply felt vocal complements the piano work rather than overshadowing it – it is, in effect, a duet between these two components that they cap off with especially stirring guitar work during the song’s final quarter half. 

The emotive and midnight-lit terrain of “Hope’s Song” concludes Bodhicitta on a gentle note. The interplay between mandolin and electric guitar is pivotal to the song’s success, and the band intersperses organ lines into the arrangement with excellent results. It has a warm and inviting sound. We are once again treated to exceptional vocals as well, and their songwriting prowess, particularly lyrically, shines through. 

Touch the Buffalo’s Bodhicitta spans multiple sounds and genres despite its relatively brief duration. Nevertheless, it does not sound like a dizzy hodgepodge of styles; the band manages to fashion a cohesive musical statement from those disparate strands. There are characteristics uniting the EP’s four songs and sustain the band’s attempt to make a statement. The band’s vocal presence is critical among those characteristics, but intangible aspects such as their willingness to take chances are another crucial factor. This is a band ready for the leap from short-form releases such as this into full-length albums anytime they like. 

Heather Savage

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