Buffalo Tom: Skins (Scrawny/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Buffalo Tom: The Kids Just Sleep
Buffalo Tom: Skins (Scrawny/Southbound)

When Boston band Buffalo Tom disappeared for almost a decade in the mid 2000s it would be hard to argue they were in the "much missed" category for most people. But their loyal core had their albums Birdbrain, Let Me Come Over (which included the wonderful Taillights Fade) and Sleepy Eyed as cornerstones in their collection.

Their return in 2007 with Three Easy Pieces confirmed their magical blend of alt.rock and indie.country with just enough power pop was still intact. 

Here that original trio return with the template untampered with again, and have as guest Tanya Donnelly on the lovely, mandolin-enhanced ballad Don't Forget Me.

Guilty Girls with its guitar chime, country-rock structure and pop chorus is almost archetypal BT material and as with their best material has you winding the window down and slipping into cruise control.

There are some classic-sounding BT songs about real life and unanswered prayers, marriage and loss here; the mid-tempo piano-based Miss Barren Brooks; the slow Springsteen-like emotional croak of Paper Knife about disappointment and regret in love; the acoustic The Hawks and the Sparrows ("I tried love and marriage . . .) sung by Chris Colbourn perhaps?; the power pop stadium-rock guitar crunch of The Kids Just Sleep . . .

Songwriter Bill Janovitz always had an empathy for characters which some in the genre don't and that is evident here in Here I Come ("there are people living lives out of the light, out of the spotlight, there are babies being born to people you don't know, but here they go and here they come . . .")

And as they have so often done, they can deliver a self-questioning heartbreaker which drags you in, here in the last song Out of the Dark.

Buffalo Tom have always eschewed embellishment in favour of the direct and that is here in both melody and lyric. So no change really -- and this is the very good news.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music at Elsewhere articles index

RECOMMENDED RECORD: MEDaL: Replica (DK Records/bandcamp)

RECOMMENDED RECORD: MEDaL: Replica (DK Records/bandcamp)

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . . This Lyttelton-based trio includes at least one very familiar name, Dave Mulcahy... > Read more

Miles Calder and the Rumours; Miles Calder and the Rumours (Southbound)

Miles Calder and the Rumours; Miles Calder and the Rumours (Southbound)

Singer-songwriter Miles Calder and his fellow travellers down these alt.country byways (where “the creek's gonna rise”) have considerable prior form in advance of this debut album.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Kunming, China: People, people who need people . . .

Kunming, China: People, people who need people . . .

Sometimes it is the small things rather than the grand sights you remember after a trip. Around the bustling city of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, there are certainly sights to be... > Read more

Tokaanu, New Zealand 2007: Small towns on a slow up-spin

Tokaanu, New Zealand 2007: Small towns on a slow up-spin

About 10 or so years ago I spent a few days in Turangi on the southern shore of Lake Taupo in New Zealand's North Island. I was on an assignment for the Herald. I wish I could say the story... > Read more