“My kindness is not weakness!”, yells Seth Medeiros on the opening track of Buddy Wynkoop’s latest EP At The Speed Of Conversation. The Portland art-punk outfit meshes together angular guitars and punchy rhythms over Medieros’ shout-sung melodies. In this track called “Kindness”, the band appeals for people to not only use their lizard brain, but to grow bigger than our primal instincts and use empathy to help one another. All the while idiosyncratic riffs growl and hiss in the background, providing a playful and catchy atmosphere to back their profound declarations.
Here lies the hook of Buddy Wynkoop, the riffs and the lyrics take turns in pulling your attention, providing novelty at every turn. It’s mind-bending and trippy in a fun way, which makes this EP very enjoyable in repeat listens as you get to discover new moments you’ve missed before. At the Speed of Conversion runs at only short of 15 minutes long, but its densely packed moments are enough to fill multiple lazy afternoons.
Like in the cleverly titled “Aesop Amnesia” which depicts an episode of dissociative identity disorder. Our narrator is stuck “in the produce section of a grocery market not knowing whose arms legs and or feet I was controlling”. The riffs wince and pounce, while the rhythms stutter and swing, the whole song collectively turning into a patchwork of multiple identities, only tied together with loose string and punchy lyricism. Which then leads to “Thoughts Bottleneck”, a growling rock and roll tune with existential lyrics tightly tucked into tight corners by erratic and repetitive thoughts. “I’m only as human as you’ll let me be!”, “I don’t know what I don’t know!” This could very well pass for a pop rock tune with its sun-soaked melodies and riffs, if not for its large dose of delirium (which I personally find relatable).
The EP ends with a bright folky tune in “Real-time Traveling Man”. A story of an ordinary guy who goes through the motions, checking all the boxes of his to-do list. Yet one who’s filled with all the quirks of an artist declaring: “Love as a word is a leash and I am your dog.” Even when depicting a tame suburban life Buddy Wynkoop manages to infuse every moment with their brand of off-kilter whimsy.
At the Speed of Conversation seems to fly by at you, but it’s an EP that will leave its mark long after you’ve stopped hitting repeat.