Fans of Richmond’s thriving alt-rock scene will not be disappointed by the February release of Buddy List’s debut album, Shaking on the Ridge. The band, consisting of members from Young Scum, Antiphons, and Fat Spirit seems to be RVA’s newest super group and their mix of indie rock and shoegaze will provide a fresh new voice for the scene.
The group highlights the best parts of a few genres. The straight rock verse from indie, some of the more obscure guitar tones come from shoegaze, but the more technically complicated parts have a math rock vibes as well.
The first half of the seven-song album seems to scream nostalgia about wasting time and traffic stops, but as the album progresses it becomes deeper and perhaps a little more cynical.
The turn begins after the track, “2004.” In this acoustic song, Ben Medcalf, the group’s vocalist, usually a strong rock vocal, quietly talks through the lyric, “I found God on a bench in a middle school gym. I'll never forgive him.” Although perhaps, a little vague, it’s easy to identify with this depressed middle school feeling and looking for anyone or anything to blame.
Following this profound acoustic song, Buddy List goes into “Rolling Stop.” The bass, played by Matt Timko, is heavy on this song and it seems perfect for late night house show dancing. The song is the perfect transition from "2004," beginning with a quiet pad part and working up to a full arrangement with detailed lyrics to boot.
The album really hits its stride on “Bumper;” the six-minute piece speeds by, powered by Lou Henninger’s drums and distorted guitars. The song opens with a simple clean guitar and vocal line reminiscent of the The Front Bottoms, but it’s when Taylor Noll and Medcalf’s ringing guitar harmonies come in that the song really cements itself as the centerpiece of the album. It’s this electrically charged garage rock sound that sets this song apart from some of the other more mellow songs on the album.
The album was meant to be played on a drive out of the city, running away from the problems that come with the busyness and craziness of adult life.