Borracho have been making waves in the Stoner scene for the last couple of years, and it’s easy to see why. Great riffs, strong vocals, and the kind of working ethic you’d expect to see from an office worker in Tokyo. Since the release of ‘Splitting Sky’ in 2011 to huge acclaim, the Washington DC based 4 piece have been gathering rave reviews and a loyal following as they’ve been on the road with giants like Fu Manchu and Karma to Burn. But, as in all things, nothing stays the same. Last year saw Singer/Guitarist Noah absent from the stage for a long while, as guitarist Steve Fisher filled in on vocal duties. In April the band’s website confirmed that Noah had left the band permanently to pursue other projects and that Borracho would carry on as a 3 piece with Steve on full time vocals/guitar.
I’ve got to say that I didn’t quite know what to expect, not only was Noah an exceptional vocalist, but how would they do without the second guitar adding that extra depth to their sound?
Well, we don’t have to wait any longer to find out with the release of Oculus, a 5 track, 35 minute album showcasing what they’ve been doing with their new trimmed down line up. I have to say that within about a minute of the opening track ‘Empty’, all doubts had left my mind. It starts with a slow and simple guitar intro and grows into a huge, all encompassing wall of sound that soars for nearly 5 minutes before it settles down into a faster and more familiar song structure and Steve’s vocals start. And they are brilliant. Seriously. The song continues at a fast pace, with a rousing, uplifting chorus and the kind of groove to it that makes it impossible not to nod your head and stomp your foot along to it. Then almost as suddenly as the vocals start, the song ends.
You have just a couple of seconds to catch your breath before the slightly southern fried, clean guitar intro for ‘Know The Score’ starts and hooks you straight away. This track really is something special. With a simple riff and tons of groove that just soars into the kind of chorus that demands you sing along with it. All the while the song just climbs and climbs to a crescendo before the verse reasserts itself towards the end with a couple more rounds of the sing along chorus and it ends, leaving you feeling that although it weighs in at nearly 7 and a half minutes, it is not long nearly enough.
‘Stockpile’ is next on the track listing. And once again, I found my head nodding along to it without realising. Slightly slower paced and more plodding, this is a great slab of Stoner Rock with a mid section of low, grinding bass, soaring guitar and solid drumming before seamlessly heading back into the main riff and picking up momentum as it keeps on going for close to 11 minutes.
‘Eye’ is a 2 minute interlude which acts as a bridge between ‘Stockpile’ and the closing song, ‘I’ve Come For It All’, which is a perhaps the most “Metal” track on the album. With a verse that chugs along with an instantly recognisable riff before picking up speed into the chorus that is, once again, full of the kind of groove that makes it impossible to sit still when listening. It picks up and sweeps along at quite a pace and becomes more upbeat as a guitar solo climbs and wails as the album slowly fades out, leaving me thinking that wasn’t I doubting something before I started listening? Nope, I can’t possibly imagine what that could have been about. Maybe I’ll put ‘Oculus’ on for another spin and see if I can remember.
Scribed by: Mark Pierce