Buho – Self Titled EP

Búho hail from the state of Texas: home of At The Drive-In, who they name as one of their key influences. You could say they have a lot to live up to, but then no one is realistically expecting them to reach such lofty heights as their homeboys.

Despite citing the afro-sporting noise merchants, along with their offspring, Sparta, and also Japandroids as peers, Búho are altogether more progressive than any of those acts, making much greater use of loops sections and shifting patterns of noise.

The self-titled EP starts with ‘Endless Blur’, which is churning, grinding guitars building in tandem with an ominous, pounding bassline. The noise gives way to feedback which itself dies off into a gentler moment before a wave of discordance brings vocals with it.

The vocals are carried low in the mix in a similar style to that adopted by Japanese post-rock masters Envy, but Búho choose clean notes over sludge-drenched roars. At times this works well, providing a meditative, gentle edge to the heavy instrumentation. At other times it feels at odds with the blasting guitars and the singing actually feels a little redundant.

Second track ‘Night Clinics’ adds to the impression that the vocals aren’t quite doing the job their intended for. Musically, there’s plenty going on, and you definitely get a feel for the mood that Búho are trying to create. This isn’t to say they should have to resort to growling or grunting just for the sake of it, but when vocals are taking a backseat like this then they need to be working a bit harder than is evident on these songs.

The band describes themselves both as indie and post-rock, which is understandable given the stylistic melding I have already discussed. However, I feel their real strengths lie in their impressive structures, and that this is where their focus should be drawn to when they get round to a full length.

– Alex Phelan

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