Hailing for Calgary Alberta, the dynamic duo that is Scratch Buffalo is a rock n roll force to be reckoned with. The fuzz, the electric, the grind and the headbanging beats are all present in this new album, titled Strawberry Soda. But we’ve seen all of that before in past bands and most probably, in future ones as well. There is nothing new to this formula, nor is there anything inherently innovative about it. The bands that fall into the category of Legendary are ones that etch themselves in our minds, be it with performances our out of world music. While this album plays it safe with a mixture of good ol’ rock n roll and a bit of punk added for good measure, there is much to enjoy here. Let me tell you what.
The first thing which stuck out is Chris Naish’s vocal abilities. The nasal quality of his voice gives the entirety of the album an in-you-face feel, which is helped by the hard rock. Singers often get by with doing the bare minimum, but to Naish’s credit, there is a flavor to his vocals. He plays with intonations, mixes his range, and does this with great ease. When it comes to the music, as I have said before, it is simple enough. Yet, as we know, simple does not mean bad. It just means that it’s stuff you’ve probably heard before. But Naish has some strong riffs and, mirroring his dynamic voice, has some excellent solos. Matched with Mark Straub hammering away at those drums, you get what you expected: some good, 70’s fashioned rock and roll.
It is also worth mentioning the quality of the sound. Particular attention was paid to making it crisp, but not enough to make everything sound overproduced. The music retains its fuzziness, yet every note and every drumbeat is perfectly audible. Even the bass, which is often lacking in duos, is given care and attention. I would have liked to have seen more experimentation in this album. Naish’s eccentric vocal performance on “Freak” is a good indicator of how they could play around with the vocals. The western/bluesy feeling of “Life Somewhere Else,” is also a good indicator of this bands talent in changing it up a bit. These guys have talent, and I’m sure playing around with music a bit more would yield some interesting music.
Written by Johnathan Robinson
*Edited by Dominic Abate