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Outside In(fluence): Buzz Rodeo - "Combine"

Welcome to the second article in the Outside In(fluence) series of international musick reviews. Last time, I talked about some Chinese punks called Dirty Fingers. This time, it's noise-rockers, Buzz Rodeo, from Stuttgart, Germany. I have been aware of them for some time because I am friends with the frontperson, Ralph, on Facebook. Despite this, I have never really listened to the band before. Since I started the Outside In(fluence) series, I thought this would be a good time to do so.

The album cover to Combine, released in May 2017, has a mechanical feel. It is literally a picture of a piece of machinery with small lightning bolts, but the image is also very clean. I'm not a fan of this type of art; it leaves me feeling empty. It seems like a popular style, but it seems so sterile to me. I do think it suits the band a bit with their mechanical attack.

The first song on Combine is "Cheap Trick", sounding like Albini in more ways than one. The guitars are scratchy sirens and the vocals excitedly wild. There are some nice drum parts here. I know Steve Albini likes the band Cheap Trick quite a bit. I don't think this song is about the band. Next is the speeding-along racer of "Jordan Walk". I really like this song with its imagery of bicycles racing around. Everything goes to chaos before the chorus returns. Then the song ends with the guitar sounding like an electrified cable of many pounds. "Nice Guy" sounds like Sonic Youth meets Big Black and My Dad Is Dead. "The Song in A" has more raw power cable guitar. The bass has a weird, ghoulish sound. The drums sound good but kind of thin. The bass a subtle creepiness from under the waves of guitar. "Pride Parade" does not refer to a pro-LGBT event but to self-congratulatory, arrogant rockstars. I was glad to hear a short break of near silence on this, as the album has been going on full blast since it started. There is at least one German word here that is repeated often. I think it is "hofnarr" meaning a fool or jester. I had to look up the translation, but it makes sense. "Tripwire!" is heavy and droney, and I like it a lot. I don't know what it is about though.

The second side begins with the Dick Dale guitar of "Brompton Stone". This one reminded me a lot of Multicult with its throbbing mid-range bass and screeching guitar. "Spinning" is a little quieter. I get tired of all the yelling and stuff, though this is still along those lines. The guitar does some cool stuff, alternating between a start/stop Ramones rock and a Sonic Youth galactic attack. "Next Position" sounds like it has something to do with sex or fascism, but I think I'm missing something. I thought this song was somewhat tiring. "Rubdown" is more guitar attack. I wish the drums were more prominent. "Butchers Knife" starts with an interesting effect that's been on a few songs, a kind of tremolo or something, some kind of stutter on the guitar at the end of the notes. The musick is the poppiest it's been on the entire album, Ralph, the vocalist, nearly crooning in his own way. This one is my favorite on the album. It reminds me of Iggy Pop's The Idiot and Gang of Four. I wish more of the album had been like this.

Buzz Rodeo is a very skilled band. They make some cool sounds. I just wish they had more varied songs. "Butcher's Knife" proves they can do more than just yelling b/w loud guitars. I love that song, so much. I can't say much for the rest. Combine gets a Neutral. It doesn't do enough for me, mostly a slight headache.