Since the early days of Black Sabbath and Hawkwind, stoner and space rock have been batons that have been passed down throughout rock history. It is believed that Master of Reality by Black Sabbath was the first of this new genre in the 1970s. Since then, bands like Kyuss, Clutch, Masters of Reality, and Monster Magnet have kept the genre alive by utilizing heavy-distorted blues riffs, tons of fuzz with psychedelic effects, and lyrics revolving around space/fantasy themes. The stoner rock moniker may seem like the listener needs to be in the throes of a deep marijuana sedation in order to enjoy any of the genre’s songs, but that is not the case. If you like your rock n’ roll with powerful riffs, booming drums, and thick bass grooves then this genre has plenty to offer. With Borracho‘s Riffography, we see a band standing on the shoulders of stoner/space rock giants. The band exude influences from the long, venerated history of this “outsider” rock, making music that is best listened to on a highway trek through a desert at night.
This album is actually a collection of B-sides and split singles from the band’s 10 year history, but if you weren’t aware of it, you would assume that it was a single, cohesive effort from a band. Listening to songs like “Rectify”, “Know the Score”, and “Know thy Name”, the listener can hear the deep-seated influences of their musical forefathers, yet the band does not so much try to emulate their predecessors, but instead, carry on the roaring, fuzz-laden tradition.
Riffography is definitely an apt title for this collection, as each track is built around a bluesy, monolithic groove between guitarist/vocalist Steve Fisher, bassist Tim Martin, and drummer Mario Trubiano. The band’s adherence to the all-powerful riff makes the songs sway and shake like a mescaline-induced rattlesnake. The band having a lineup switch from a four to three-piece outfit did little to alter the power and determination. If anything, it showcases the tightness and confidence of each of the three players. The listener can definitely hear it in the creative breakdowns that are interspersed through tracks like “Circulos Concentricos”, “Mob Gathering”, and “Short Rider”. Each progression is punctuated by gunshot precision between the three. Where other bands in the genre might lose the energy in a deluded, slow breakdown, Borracho keep the energy going; always driving ahead, never getting stuck in the “muddiness” of feedback or delay effects.
As a band that has prided itself on its distorted grooves, Borracho have created an established presence in the stoner/space rock genre that is original and yet, borrows from many influences from the 60’s to the present. At times, the band seem to bludgeon you with the same riff over and over which ,for the listener, can become monotonous and tiresome but those moments are few and far between. Heavy, low-end riffs will never become a thing of the past. It’s power and resonance brings something primitively addicting inside the listener, creating an insatiable appetite. Borracho never cease to feed that need with their dominant, massive guitar licks and bombastic drums.