Early this month the New Brunswick band Sink Tapes had their eighth release, an album titled Touchdown Buffalo. My gut reaction to the title, in addition to the band’s name was, “oh, another indie band with some obscure names being thrown around…I hope the music’s not lost on me.” After listening to the first six tracks off of Touchdown Buffalo, I felt like I was transported to the dance floor of any 1980’s movie with a prom scene.
In track three, the chorus went, “you can dry your eyes, you can get moisturized, you can socialize, be institutionalized…” and I felt I was being mesmerized. The vocals are quite airy, and in the tone of a lullaby, ultimately generating a different atmosphere than the band’s first recorded album, Same Strange Dream, from 2010.
This first album was more in the pocket of the psychedelic/stoner rock genre. Touchdown Buffalo shows more of Sink Tape’s “indie”. Now, I did only so cavalierly generalize the first six tracks of the album, which leaves five remaining. This is where I learn not to jump to musical conclusions so soon.
The seventh track of the album, entitled “Same Thing (Not Sure About Any of You),” like track four, starts with a vibin’ guitar riff, but the vocals were of a completely different feel. I did not expect to be transported from my spot swaying on the prom dance floor to a coffeehouse in the 60s. Track seven’s vocals were like spoken word, a raspy whisper of a poem woven over strums on the guitar.
For one brief moment, I even expected “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” to seep through my earphones. Cool, man. Just like that, a band can command you away from one mind groove and into another. The remainder of the album continues with lighter instrumentals, and the vocals slowly build back up to that mesmerizing 80s, beachy tang of the earlier tracks.
Nevertheless, after that sweet, poetic surprise of track seven, I am forced to reassess my understanding of Sink Tapes. I was ready to accept Touchdown Buffalo as the band’s chilled-out, 2014 indie interpretation of how Frankie really says relax, but perhaps these guys are trying to say more… like that they’re Buffalo Bills fans.