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New Rock Buffalo Daughter, Grand Royal 1998
1.New Rock
2.R&B (Rhythm & Basement)
3.Great Five Lakes
4.What's the Trouble with my Silver Turkey?
5.Autobacs
6.Socks, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll
7.Airport Rock
8.Super Blooper
9.Sad Guitar
10.No Tokyo
11.No New Rock
12.Sky High
13.Down Sea
14.Jellyfish Blues

While their songs did get some decent radio play, with one track even making the background of MTV's Daria, Buffalo Daughter was the right band at the wrong time. Today, there's a huge subculture of fans of Japanese everything which, mostly, stems from their interest in all things related to anime. This particular band, though, isn't quite an exact match for that audience as its rock-oriented and in some cases experimental New Rock manages to pull together a fairly unique sound. Lots of electronic instruments, samples, and ambient noise pull together in an album that makes for great background noise and an even more bizarre listen by an attentive ear. While a cursory listen would have you think there's method to the madness, the trained ear knows the method is madness.

Like many bands we review, the international rock sound has, on some tracks, vocals in English from singers who are Japanese. Unlike other albums we've looked at, these aren't awkward, and demonstrate a much better knowledge of the English language and its puns. It's fun because it's clever in many cases, and not because it's awkward or something that is endearing because of the ability, or lack thereof, of the band to communicate.

There aren't many albums punctuated by car horns, frogs, and airport noise that don't feel like a gimmicky CD. The total package here has some great tracks, like Jellyfish Blues or Socks, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll that are just wonderful tracks that will probably never make it to the ears of the public. The droning female voice of the latter and the electronic vocals of the former sound like they should have come from different bands, or at least significantly different eras of the same band. Each track sounds significantly different than the others, but they retain a similar flavor and if you don't like one track, odds are the next will have some unique lyric or blip to grab your attention.

Socks is probably the most memorable track, with a jerky guitar that may remind some of early Talking Heads. The vocalist seems to be in another place, providing just enough of a punch to let you know that she's there, just not all there. The electronic sounds punctuate the song well, and the song both seems to be full of life while being quite resigned at the same time. It isn't representative of the album as a whole, but if you have the means to sample that track, you probably should.

This isn't an album you can listen to for hours on end, nor will it change the world of classic rock forever. If you're willing to give it a few listens and enjoy new and unique thiings, this is the CD you should get next. It can be found in numerous bargain bins or used, and our copy was found at a used CD store discount bin for a too-low $0.50. While some of the tracks are passable and may or may not be album filler, the whole package is worthy of your ears. Assuming, of course, such things appeal to you.

--Adam Pawlus
January 19, 2004

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