Where Are All the Buffalo?

 by Mike McQuillian

At its foundation, life is a collection of tenuously-connected mysteries. What do I do with my life? What happens when we die? What happens next?

On her first EP, Kristina Moore (formerly of Finding Grampa’s Monsters) addresses these questions. Recording as Where Are All the Buffalo?, Moore doesn’t try to answer the questions. Instead, she brings them to light with gorgeous music, making the mysteries of life less scary.

Moore dives into these questions on opener “In the Summer, I Woke Up.” Accompanied by guitar work from AZ musician Dylan Pratt, she leads off the EP by asking “But do we ever really know/where we are going?” The instrumentation and Moore’s delicate vocals make Joanna Newsom comparisons unavoidable, but the songs on the Where Are All the Buffalo? EP make such comparisons an afterthought. Listening, I find myself far more interested in how good they are than their influences.

Photos by Esther Ruth Photography

Moore pulls out the accordion for “Skylar Was Right,” a blistering tune about claiming independence from those who would hold her down. “I refuse to be a marionette,” she sings. She taunts an ex-lover (?) by seething “I have learned to stand on my own two feet/ without you holding me up/and I never needed it.” This is the EP’s strongest track, by far.

Nature’s importance is a theme throughout the Buffalo EP. Piano ballad “Brow Blossom, Head Garden,” exemplifies this. It veers from dancing in the summer rain to lamenting the logging of cottonwoods.

Moore ends the EP on “Video 16,” a tribute to setting aside life’s challenges and having some fun. We end the release with visions of Moore “running wild,” enjoying herself despite life’s unsolvable mysteries.

The Where Are All the Buffalo? EP is a promising start for Kristina Moore. Using fantastic musicianship and the familiarity of the questions we all face, she creates the beginnings of a mythology for herself. It’s a testament to her songs that this mythology is not only interesting, but leaves listeners wanting more.

Listen to Where Are All the Buffalo? through Bandcamp. You can get more info from the Where Are All the Buffalo? Facebook page.