Scratch Buffalo release their debut album to the world.
On their debut album, Scratch Buffalo walk the razor-thin edge between spontaneous and rehearsed, desperate and confident, heartbroken and invincible. The trio’s songs don’t begin, they erupt. Instead of ending, they explode – either all at once or in a mess of ghoulish guitar noise. This is an album of dark, swaggering songs delivered with a smile and a wink. We’re all going down, it says, let’s enjoy the ride. Producer Hutch Harris, of the Thermals, began working with songwriter Chris Naish in August of 2017.
Through song critiques and Spotify playlists, he helped the band find the marrow of their sound – a combination of 70’s punk, surf, and the camp-spookiness of Sam the Sham and Screaming Jay Hawkins. After selecting 11 songs from a pool of more than 30, Scratch Buffalo recorded the album almost entirely live February 2018, with stuntman-like precision, in two days. Every song on the album swings for the fences in its own way, united by Chris Naish’s slashing guitar, Mark Straub’s technical, distinctive drums, and Scott Wildeman’s surprisingly melodic bass lines.
Opening the record is “Piranha,” a 100-second burst of surf punk and ice-pick guitar, barreling down a steep hill in a shopping cart. Next, “Alligator” struts into view. Trashy yet proud, a glam rock stomp with rockabilly-inspired vocals. “Hyena Snow” is the psych-rock freakout, a howling stark refusal to heal or cope with loss. “Nightmare Coming” fuses a swaggering garage riff with a trap chorus to great, menacing effect. On each listen, different lyrics and phrases jump out, a strange fusion of bizarre imagery and confessional songwriting. Imagine Elliott Smith writing with Beck or Leonard Cohen writing with Marc Bolan.
Every song means something, every word fuelled by the explosive gasoline that is an autobiography. It all results in an album that’s perfect for fans of the tight songwriting of the Damned’s first album, the graveyard vibe of Dead Moon, and the midnight cool of the Rolling Stones when they were at their scrappiest.
Scratch Buffalo are:
Guitar & Vocals: Chris Naish, Drums : Mark Straub & Bass & Vocals: Scott Wildeman.